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With Carlos Luch

“We won’t stand for an attack on work stability”


With only a few weeks to the semester meeting between the IUF and Coca-Cola Company, to be held in Atlanta, more difficulties arise in collective bargaining negotiations between STECSA and Coca-Cola FEMSA in Guatemala.



After almost 13 months, negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement between the Union of Workers of Embotelladora Central SA (STECSA) and Coca-Cola FEMSA were suspended last February 21.


Forty-eight of the 85 clauses proposed by the parties have been approved so far, but agreement has still not been reached on the issues that are most critical for the future of labor relations in the company.


“Among the 37 clauses still unresolved are some that Coca-Cola FEMSA will not compromise on. If these clauses are approved it will be like signing the union’s death sentence,” Carlos Luch, STECSA general secretary, told SIREL.


According to Luch, the transnational corporation is aiming to implement measures that will jeopardize labor stability and wage guarantees.


It is also seeking to put into practice a pre-sales model “that has proven unfeasible in Guatemala and which would deal a severe blow to our structure, leaving us vulnerable,” the STECSA leader said.


STECSA has begun carrying out pressure actions at the central plant located in the Guatemalan capital. These protests could be stepped up over the coming weeks.



Defending rights


Faced with proposals it considers unacceptable and Coca-Cola FEMSA’s unwillingness to engage in a true dialogue, compounded with the company’s repeated use of delaying tactics, STECSA’s negotiating committee called for a suspension of collective bargaining negotiations.


“We’re not asking for much. We simply want to ratify what we have in our collective bargaining agreement, that is, the rights gained over many years of struggle. We consider this our floor for negotiation. From there we would dialogue with the company for wage improvements,” Luch said.


STECSA notes that several of the clauses proposed by the company are aimed at dismantling the Mixed Board and modifying the levels of efficiency, which could lead to a reduction in income, among other things.


Coca-Cola FEMSA’s negotiating committee has had a closed attitude, delaying negotiations and even refusing to sign clauses in which both parties were in agreement, telling us that they simply didn’t feel like it.”


“They have tried to make wage improvements conditional to our acceptance of their proposals, but for us the structure of our agreement is more important than wages,” the STECSA general secretary said.




STECSA has begun mobilizing to address this situation, carrying out pressure actions at the central plant located in the Guatemalan capital. These protest measures could be stepped up over the coming weeks.


“We’ve planned visits to every agency and workplace around the country, to report on the situation to all our union members, and everyone is on the same page. In addition, we already have an agenda of mobilizations that will be stepped up as the days advance, and we’re coordinating our actions on an international level with IUF Latin America (Rel-UITA) and FELATRAC.”


“We’re hoping that the company will reconsider its position, because we’re not willing to renounce any of the rights we have gained,” Luch concluded.



From Guatemala City, Giorgio Trucchi


March 14, 2012





Photo: Giorgio Trucchi


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