Thursday, June 24, 2021

Union hits retrenchment of 51 Coke workers in Bacolod

A WORKERS union of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines slammed the looming retrenchment of some 600 personnel nationwide due to the bottling company's impending restructuring.

In Bacolod City, 51 workers will be laid off.

Emmanuel Bandola, president of New Independent Workers’ Organization, said those affected in the Bacolod plant are the rank-and-file employees of the sales department.

He told SunStar Bacolod that 60 percent of the workers of the said department will lose their jobs.

They only have until February 28, he added.

Bandola said the company is “not losing” despite a decrease in softdrinks sales due to the high prices of commodities brought by the new tax reform law.

He added that Coke remains “dominant” against its closest competitor as the market still prefers their product.

“It’s not fair,” Bandola said, as he pointed out that some of those affected are good performers while underperformers were retained.

“There’s a malicious (intent) in the implementation,” he added.

Bandola said they are still waiting for the next move of the affected workers although their group is set to meet with other federation and allied union groups.

Workers union in Luzon have already staged a protest, Bandola said.

He added that those who were laid off in Iloilo City include the workers’ union president so “this could also be union busting.”

Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines said the restructuring has been a “very difficult decision.”

In a statement sent to SunStar Bacolod, the company said it is undergoing an organizational structure assessment due to the recent developments within the beverage industry and in the business landscape as a whole.

It added that it involved a comprehensive review of the roles and responsibilities within Coca-Cola Femsa.

“It was carried out only after an exhaustive and conscientious assessment of the evolving regulatory environment, our operational efficiency, and consequent performance in the market. We are grateful for the valuable contributions of those who were affected and thank them for being part of the company,” the statement said.

The bottling company also assured the affected workers that they will treat them with dignity, fairness, and respect throughout the process.

“Everyone will be given career transition support, as well as separation packages that go beyond what is mandated by law,” it added.

Labor leader Wennie Sancho said the retrenchment of Coke employees nationwide is the effect of the tax reform law.

He said this development will add to the country’s unemployment rate.
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