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Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines expose false 'redundancies' as unfair labour practice aimed at destroying regular jobs, expanding precarious employment

Posted to the IUF website 18-Apr-2006

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In the coming weeks ACCUP affiliates will issue letters to management in Coca-Cola bottling plants and sales offices expressing their concern that "several positions declared redundant in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 are in fact not redundant, but are currently staffed by employees hired on a contractual basis or through outsourcing/third-party contracting."

Coca-Cola operations in the Philippines are run by Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCPBI), a joint venture between The Coca-Cola Company and the San Miguel Corporation.

The unions are demanding that copies of redundancy letters issued by the management to union members from 2001-2005 be made available to the union. These letters clearly state that union members' positions are redundant, requiring them to accept a separation package or transfer within 24 hours. Yet in several cases cited by ACCUP members, these positions were not redundant, but were immediately filled with workers hired through subcontractors and labour agencies.

In several cases, these "redundancies" included forklift operators, refrigeration operators and transportation operators whose positions are explicitly described in Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) as "regular" employees covered by CBA provisions.

ACCUP leaders argue that since most union members were only shown their redundancy letters (but were not allowed to retain a copy) it appears that management is intent on hiding the evidence.

"Union members accepted separation packages, transfers or even early retirement based on their belief that their positions were redundant and there was no choice," ACCUP leaders declared at an ACCUP-IUF campaign meeting on 6 April 2006. "But they were deceived, because their positions still exist today. And these positions are filled with workers hired through contractors and labour agencies, which means they are excluded from CBA coverage and are denied the right to union membership."