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Article

15 Jun 2020

Author:
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

Philippines: Union alleges three union leaders dismissed at Coca-Cola plant in retaliation for defending workers' right to safe work amid COVID-19

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"Coca-Cola Philippines union leaders defending their members' right to safe work sacked for 'economic sabotage'!”, 15 June 2020

Coca-Cola management in the Philippines is capitalizing on the coronavirus emergency to attack union leaders of the IUF-affiliated FCCU-SENTRO and intimidate their members with dismissals, disciplinary procedures and the use of police power...

Workers at the Coca-Cola plant in San Fernando, Pampanga province, deeply concerned over the risk of infection... held an emergency union meeting on March 28... [and] reported on the current state of negotiations on union demands to management concerning hazard pay, compensation for employees unable to report for work due to the lockdown, transport and related issues arising from the public emergency...

Rather than responding to the union's demands, management retaliated on April 6-8 by disciplining 7 union officers and members at the San Fernando and Canlubang plants, including Alfredo Marañon, Belarmino Tulabut, and Danilo Pineda, charging them with "economic sabotage". The three leaders were terminated on May 8. Management retaliation escalated after FCCU... wrote to Coke management... protesting the dismissals and sharing the communication with his members and with the IUF...

On June 9, 20 union members... were arrested for... protesting the termination of their elected leaders. The protesting workers wore masks, maintained physical distancing and had agreed on procedures with the local police... They were released after several hours with charges dropped following the intervention of Alfredo Marañon...

The Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment is paralyzed due to the pandemic emergency; the normal appeals process to contest unfair dismissal is in practice not available...