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Nestl� Unions in India Take Nation-wide Protest Action

Posted to the IUF website 23-Apr-2009

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On 16 April the IUF-affiliated Federation of All India Nestle Employees launched protest actions at four Nestle factories across India, demanding that management immediately engage in wage bargaining.

Since last November the four unions that comprise the Federation have called for an end to annual wage increments unilaterally decided by management and, in a repeat of similar struggles in Russia and Indonesia, are demanding the right to negotiate wages on behalf of their 1,500 members.

Workers protesting at Nestl� Bicholim (Goa state)

In its press release issued on 15 April, the Federation of All India Nestle Employees pointed to Nestle India�s rapidly rising sales and earnings over the past three years as proof that the company can certainly afford the wage increases demanded by its members. Yet the company will only grant wage increases well below the rate of inflation. At the same time executive and managerial salaries were raised by 16%.

The protests have received wide media coverage in three states, as well as on national TV.

Workers protesting at Nestl� Moga (Punjab state)

In January, Nestle India management obtained court injunctions permanently banning union actions within 200 metres of the four factories, effectively in denying Nestl� India workers their fundamental right of assembly.

From 23 April there will be rolling protests every week at each of the four factories for the next six weeks, culminating in a mass demonstration at the Nestle India headquarters on 25 May. If the company relies on the ban on assembly to suppress these demonstrations, then the Federation, with the full support of the IUF, will escalate the campaign to defend trade union rights.

Workers protesting at Nestl� Ponda (Goa state)