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7 Jul 2020

Philippines: Unions accuse Coca-Cola of using COVID-19 as pretext to target & dismiss union leaders; Company denies allegations

Coca-Cola management in the Philippines is using COVID-19 as a pretext to target and dismiss union leaders at the San Fernando plant in Pampanga province, according to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF). On 8 May ​2020 three leaders of the IUF-affiliated FCCU-SENTRO – Alfredo Marañon, Belarmino Tulabut, and Danilo Pineda – were dismissed following a union meeting to discuss concerns over infection risks. After writing a letter to management protesting the dismissals, FCCU-SENTRO General Secretary Brendo Enriquez was subsequently threatened with dismissal. On 9 June, at a protest by workers over the dismissal of the union leaders, 20 union members were arrested and held for several hours by police. Among their calls, unions are calling for the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed union leaders and for an end to intimidation and threats against the union.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Coca-Cola to respond to the allegations. In its response, the company denied the allegations and said they are "misplaced". The full response is included below.