Coke unions demand transparency over mass layoff
Amid the decision of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines Inc. (KOFPH) to lay off over 600 workers, leaders of local unions demanded transparency behind the supposed “restructuring” of the multinational company’s business model.
At least 30 unions on Friday formed a new coalition called “All Coke Unions” to challenge the management to release evidence that would show its need to restructure and to also allow consultations with the workers.
In a press briefing in Quezon City, the union leaders decried the layoffs expected by March, which they said would affect regular employees who were entitled to the protections under agreements between the workers and the KOFPH.
Alfredo Marañon, national president of the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage and Allied Industry Unions, said most employees to be terminated were from the sales force.
Earlier this month, the company said it had decided to cut down on workers amid changes in the industry.
The decision was announced shortly after the new tax reform law was passed and implemented, which imposed higher excise tax on sweetened and sugary drinks.
But the union leaders said that KOFPH was using the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law as a “facade” since there were no proofs of sales decline.
Stressing that January was usually a lean month compared to peak sale season in December, Marañon called the management’s claims as “manufactured crisis.”
Roland dela Cruz of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines also said the softdrinks company has the option to cut costs by using locally produced sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.
“Coca-Cola is sweet, but the company treats its employees very bitterly,” Dela Cruz said.
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