With Pedro Gonzalez, from SIAPAR

New and Successful Collective Agreement
in Paraguay Refrescos

The Authentic Union of PARESA Workers (SIAPAR), signed on 25 September, the 2009 - 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Paraguay Refrescos SA (PARESA) belongs to Grupo Polar (Chile). In a dialogue with Sirel, Pedro González, President of SIAPAR, explained the details of this new Agreement.


- Please tell us the details of this Collective Agreement

- Our previous Agreement expired in June, this year. Thirty days before its expiration, the Union submitted its charter of demands.  The company reply was that negotiation was not viable at that time due to the international financial crisis which was affecting the country, and that growth projections for the company were negative.


After demanding a month time to discuss the union proposal, the company called a new meeting with representatives of PARESA in a very tense and technical environment, where the company once again management claimed that due to the crisis none of the economic clauses could be negotiated for the new period.


This provoked an eight-day standstill in the negotiation, during which the union convened a union meeting to decide the new steps in the negotiation.


What were the steps then...?

The meeting decision was to take action; a "resistance tent" was placed in front of the plant in order to inform all workers about the real situation of negotiations and the arguments of Coca Cola, reluctant to any type of increase or benefit.


Finally, on 25 September, we managed to reach an agreement and the new collective contract was sign for a two-year period.


- Could you tell us the the major achivements for the union?

First, I should mention that the agreement will be effective from February next year. Regarding wages, a 5 percent increase was reached for the 620 workers of the plant. Secondly, a 70 percent increase in the school bonus was agreed.  This benefit is for workers' children who attend basic education. The agreement also comprises a subsidy per child, regardless of the age of children, which represents a 7 percent month increase for workers.  This is the family bonus.


The agreement also includes a very significant social security benefit, according to which the full salary of workers will be covered in case of illness.


Additionally, an innovation was reached with the creation of the Debt Re-Financing Program, aimed at re-financing 100 percent of workers' debts with third parties. Finally, we also attained a one-hour reduction of work-days.


- What is your evaluation of ths new Agreement?

-  I think it is a very positive and innovative agreement and very satisfactory for workers Even though it was a hard negotiation, we are very pleased with its results. 

From Montevideo, Amalia Antúnez


October 5,  2009




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