Among the issues that the Union of Coca-Cola
Workers (STCC) wishes to discuss with
Montevideo Refrescos is an incident that occurred a
few days ago, when several workers were subtly
intimidated after they expressed their intention to join
the union. Another issue that has not been resolved yet,
and which has been brought before the Labor and
Social Security Ministry, is the question of the
number of workers that are assigned per delivery truck.
-Right now you're dealing with a conflict situation in
the pre-sales section. How did the problem start?
-About a week ago, five women workers from the pre-sales
telephone service requested a meeting with us with a
view to joining the union, and we scheduled it for
Saturday, Oct. 2.
The section supervisor apparently got hold of this
information, and, even though he never comes into work
on Saturdays, he called the workers to a meeting with
him on the same Saturday and at the same time as ours.
The workers immediately came to us. They were worried,
nervous, and outraged.
Although the supervisor took care not to speak against
the union, he firmly told them to
very carefully before they acted,"
and made other intimidating remarks, attacking freedom
of association. The workers, however, refused to be
intimidated and went ahead with their union meeting.
On Monday, Oct. 4, an assembly meeting was convened at
10 a.m. to give all pre-sales employees working outside
the plant a report on the situation. The assembly
meeting went on until 5 p.m., with a work stoppage and
picket line at the factory gate. It was further decided
that a letter of repudiation against pressures from
management would be drafted and delivered to the human
resources manager. Since the union measures taken
included a work stoppage, the situation was referred to
the Labor and Social Security Ministry.
-The company is also breaching another agreement.
-There's an internal system for deliveries that operates
with two categories of workers: drivers and assistants.
Each delivery truck is typically appointed one driver
and two assistants. While there's no express written
agreement that says trucks have to be staffed that way,
the company has always accepted it. But now it has
assigned five drivers and only five assistants. This
situation has led us to take other measures, and we've
sought out the Labor Ministry's mediation.
-What happened then?
-With respect to the antiunion incident involving the
pre-sales supervisor, following a negotiation, the
company has agreed to draft a letter that will be posted
on every bulletin board, in which management clearly
states that Coca-Cola does not have an antiunion
policy. The letter must be signed by management and, in
particular, by the human resource manager. The content
of the letter will be drafted jointly by the lawyers of
As for the delivery truck conflict, we're having a
meeting today at the Ministry to consider the company's
proposal to do without one of the five drivers who were
convened. The Union proposes that for the time being all
five drivers be appointed, along with eight assistants,
and to gradually bring in additional employees over the
coming months, according to the needs that arise during
the high season.
-You also had a Delegates Congress recently.
-Yes, the Delegates Congress mandated the Union to solve
several issues that have been on the table for the past
four months. It's clear that the company is stalling in
the hope of wearing us down. But the Delegates Congress
determined that we must solve 11 pending issues and an
economic matter, which our advisors are working on. The
company generally makes major changes only during the
low season, when the warehouses are well stocked. Still
Congress decided to call a state of alert in order to
solve all unresolved matters before the start of the
-There's also concern over production levels.
-That's right. In October 2009 there was a conflict over
the introduction of a PET bottle-molding machine,
but this machine has not delivered the promised output.
The machine is practically untouched; it can put out
millions of bottles, but it's not operating at full
capacity because the volume of beverage being produced
is very low.
It's incredible that we had a conflict over introducing
a machine that's now in the plant but is not working
because we're not producing enough.
The union has compromised on many issues in order to
protect jobs. But production is being managed in such a
way that it goes against our goal of protecting jobs.
Our union and our work stoppages are often blamed for
the plant's low output, but the problem really lies in
the heads of production and maintenance who fail in
their planning and management duties.