Coke Workers Pressed FEMSA to Stop Coke’s War Against Regular Jobs

“Hey Coke, how many regular jobs have you killed today?”

This is the chant of hundreds of workers belonging to the Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (ACCUP) and their supporters from the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL-Sentro) and NAGKAISA during a rally today in front of the Coca-Cola headquarters in Makati. The workers demanded the owners-to-be of Coca-Cola – FEMSA – to immediately cease the company’s unrelenting war against regular jobs.

Coca-Cola Philippines is up for sale by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). For months now, Coca-Cola FEMSA from Mexico has been conducting due diligence and has sent a team to the Philippines to look at the company’s assets.

“To ensure a smooth transition, FEMSA should demonstrate its good faith by declaring its commitment to fully respect workers’ rights,” Fred Marañon, spokesperson of Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (ACCUP) and president of Coca-Cola San Fernando Rank and File Union, said. “FEMSA should call on Coca-Cola management to stop ramming down on our throats its anti-worker policy called P3,” he added.

P3, or Performance, Participation and Presence, is an evaluation program that lacks any consideration of fairness and equity in determining wage increases. It also removes workers’ hard-won protection against arbitrary and unfair punishment or dismissal as well as protection against discrimination. More importantly, it precludes the use of grievance procedures in questioning the penalties that are imposed to those who ‘fails’ the performance appraisals.

“P3 has started claiming its victims in Coca-Cola plants where management has succeeded in imposing the program through various ruses,” Marañon said. “The worst part is, workers who fail their P3 evaluation continue to live in fear even after they are fired,” he added.

The campaign to enforce P3 is backed by the Coca-Cola Philippines’ head of security, an ex-US Special Forces officer who specializes in the “demolition” of opposing groups and using fear, intimidation and blackmail to suppress dissent. Under this situation, few have dared to speak out.

ACCUP is now pushing for a Congressional inquiry on Coke’s practice of employing security officers from abroad without legal employment status.

“We will sustain and even escalate our campaign unless FEMSA stops the imposition of P3 in all Coca-Cola plants,” Marañon declared.

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