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Date updated : 15-Jun-2020

Status: active

© 2020 IUF

The Coca-Cola Company is abusing a national health emergency in the Philippines to attack workers' rights!

Coca-Cola management in the Philippines is capitalizing on the coronavirus emergency to attack union leaders of the IUF-affiliated FCCU-SENTRO and intimidate their members with dismissals, disciplinary procedures and the use of police power.

While workers struggle with strict lockdown measures and a lethal pandemic, the company has ordered workers suspected of COVID-19 exposure to self-quarantine without pay. Workers at the Coca-Cola plant in San Fernando, Pampanga province, deeply concerned over the risk of infection following the death of a plant workers' close relative to whom he had been exposed, held an emergency union meeting in the changing room on March 28. Union leaders urged workers to comply with the government recommendations and stay home if they feared exposure or contaminating others, stating that they would respect workers' individual decisions.

Management retaliated on April 6-8 by disciplining 7 union officers and members at the San Fernando and Canlubang plants, including Alfredo Marañon, Belarmino Tulabut, and Danilo Pineda, charging them with "economic sabotage". The three leaders were terminated on May 8. FCCU-SENTRO General Secretary Brendo Enriquez wrote to Coke management on May 18 protesting the dismissals and sharing the communication with his members and with the IUF. He has been disciplined and faces termination. And management called on the police to break up a peaceful demonstration by workers protesting the dismissal of their union leaders on June 9. The protesting workers wore masks, respected social distancing and had agreed on procedures with the local police.

Coke operations in the Philippines are wholly owned by The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, USA. Responsibility for intimidation, dismissals and threats to our affiliate and its members lies squarely with The Coca-Cola Company.

Union representatives who assert their members' right to a safe workplace are not committing 'economic sabotage'. Unions have the right to communicate with their members and with the IUF and the right to peaceful assembly and protest.

SIGN THE PETITION below to send a message to The Coca-Cola Company - Coke cannot abuse a public health emergency to attack fundamental human rights!

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Here is the message you are sending:

To Mr. James Quincey, CEO and Chairman, The Coca-Cola Company
Cc Mr. Brent Wilton, Director, Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company

Dear Mr. Quincey,

I am deeply concerned to learn that The Coca-Cola Company appears to be capitalizing on the COVID-19 emergency to attack fundamental trade union rights at its operations in the Philippines.

As you should be aware, the government has imposed strict lock-down and confinement measures in response to the emergency. I am sure you are aware that the company offers no pay for workers who follow the government's advice to remain at home if they fear contamination or risk exposing others.

Workers at the San Fernando bottling plant held a meeting on March 28 to discuss their fears and concerns and the union's demands to the company for dealing with the emergency. Management responded to this meeting on April 6-8 by disciplining 7 union officers and members at the San Fernando and Canlubang plants, including Alfredo Marañon, Belarmino Tulabut, and Danilo Pineda, absurdly charging them with 'economic sabotage'. The three leaders were terminated on May 8.

FCCU-SENTRO General Secretary Brendo Enriquez wrote to Coke management on May 18 protesting the dismissals and sharing the communication with his members and with the IUF. He has been disciplined and faces termination. And management called on the police to break up a peaceful demonstration by workers protesting the dismissal of their union leaders on June 9. The protesting workers wore masks, respected social distancing and had agreed on procedures with the local police.

It is unacceptable to curtail union rights and to discipline, dismiss and intimidate union members at a time when management should be engaging with the union to constructively manage the impact of the crisis.

I call on The Coca-Cola Company to act immediately to reinstate all dismissed union leaders, drop the absurd charges against Brendo Enriquez, engage in good faith with FCCU-SENTRO on COVID-19 protocols, and fully respect the union's right to freedom of assembly and to communicate with its members and with the IUF on these issues.

Yours sincerely,

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