Colombia: Excerpt of new book alleging bottling plants supplying Coca-Cola are linked with killings of trade unionists

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Company response
2 October 2008

Coca-Cola response to Guardian article

Author: Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company recognizes that our business is only as healthy and sustainable as the communities where we operate. Therefore, we contribute to sustainability through a number of community-based commitments and actions while also conducting our business in a responsible manner. Despite our efforts, old allegations continue to be repeated about our labor practices in Colombia. Here are the facts: The U.S. federal court has dismissed the lawsuits brought in the United States, with respect to both The Coca-Cola Company and the independent bottlers in Colombia. And two judicial investigations in Colombia found no evidence to support the allegations that bottler management conspired to intimidate or threaten trade unionists.

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Article
20 September 2008

To die for [Colombia]

Author: Mark Thomas, Guardian [UK]

Being a trade union organiser in bottling plants used by Coca-Cola in Colombia is a dangerous business - they are prime targets for death squads. Can Coke be held responsible?...Sinaltrainal [Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos]…claim[s] seven trade unionists have been killed by paramilitaries, the bottlers have links with the paras, and the bottlers are accused of union-busting, intimidation and harassment of workers...To this day the Coca-Cola Company itself has not investigated the alleged links of Colombian bottling plant managers with the paramilitaries. From the outset, the company's Atlanta headquarters denied "any connection to any human-rights violations" and distanced itself from the bottlers, saying, "The Coca-Cola Company does not own or operate any bottling plants in Colombia."...In..2001 [Sinaltral]...brought a lawsuit in the US against the Coca-Cola company and its Colombian bottlers...[A] result is expected...in 2009. [also refers to Bebidas y Alimentos, Panamco (part of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Gap, Nike]

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