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“While Coke is visibly spending a lot in its media campaign to celebrate its 100 years in the Philippines, it is penny-pinching on the people who are responsible for its superprofits from the country, its workers.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s statement today as it slammed the giant multinational for refusing to present a counter-offer to workers’ demands for a wage increase in ongoing negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and offering instead a promise of hiking wages in the coming years based on workers’ individual performance.
In CBA negotiations with workers’ unions in some of its 50 plants in the country, the Coke management is asserting an individual appraisal scheme for increasing wages, which centers on what it calls “3 Ps”: performance, productivity and presence.
KMU said Coke’s offer runs counter to the standard practice in CBAs where capitalists grant an across-the-board wage hike for every year in the period covered.
“By refusing to hike its workers’ wages and by undermining the negotiations and workers’ unions, Coke is not spreading happiness among its workers. Contrary to its ad slogan, it is spreading misery and poverty among the people who create its wealth in the Philippines,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.
“Coke is not being grateful to Filipinos with the way it treats its workers. It is also setting a bad precedent for other companies to emulate, teaching them on how to further scrimp on the wages of Filipino workers,” he added.
Imus, Cavite plant
Coke has been stalling negotiations with the United Coca-Cola Workers’ Union (UCCWU) in its plant in Imus, Cavite, which employs more than 160 regular workers and 150 contractuals and produces juices like Eight O’Clock.
In negotiations which started last September, workers have been rejecting Coke’s bribe of a P60,000 lump-sum payment in exchange for agreeing with the offer. They are getting a wage of P450 a day, just a little above the P404 minimum wage in the National Capital Region.
“It’s almost five months since the negotiations formally started and the Coke management has not really started negotiating with the workers. It wants to press down workers’ wages and make workers subservient to supervisors and managers who will evaluate workers’ 3 Ps,” said Lito Fadriquelan, president of the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa, a KMU federation of which the UCCWU is an affiliate.
“The UCCWU is united in opposing Coke’s individual appraisal scheme. Coke workers know that what is at stake is not only an increase in their wages in the coming years but also the integrity of their union,” he added.