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Workers at Coca-Cola's Dasna and Varanasi plants express concerns about job security

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on December 08, 2019 Published on December 08, 2019
File photo - KSL

The company is divesting these plants to franchise bottling partners

Workers employed at Coca-Cola’s plants at Varanasi and Dasna in Uttar Pradesh are protesting against the company’s decision to divest these plants to its franchise bottling partners.

Last week, the beverage major had announced that it is divesting bottling operations of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCB) in four territories in North India to existing franchise bottling partners. Under this agreement, the plant at Dasna is being divested to Moon Beverages, while the plant at Mehdiganj in Varanasi will be transferred to Ladhani Group entity, SLMG Beverages.

In a letter sent to various local government officials, the Coca-Cola Workers Union of the Varanasi plant has stated that the company’s decision to sell the plant to the Ladhani Group’s SLMG has put the job security and future prospects of hundreds of permanent and temporary workers at risk.

Protesting against the sale of the plant, the workers union in its letters to various authorities, has said that there is no guarantee that the new management of the plant will continue to employ HCCB workers in the long-term. The worker union has also demanded that payments, in-line with the LTS (Long-Term Wage Settlement), should be given.

One of the key members of the Coca-Cola Workers Union at the Varanasi plant told BusinessLine, “We have been working at this plant for the past two decades and now we are seriously concerned about our future prospects and job security. We are not sure the new management will continue to employ us."

According to local media reports, similar protests have been staged and concerns expressed by the workers at the Dasna plant.

When contacted, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola India said, “The workers remain valued members of the Coca-Cola family, and the local bottlers have committed to ensuring their pay and benefits remain unchanged.”

“This is an internal realignment exercise for our bottling operations in North India, as Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCB) – the company-owned bottler for the majority of India, is transferring its business operations to the existing bottling partners in North India. Our Franchise model of bottling operations with local and indigenous partners is consistent across the world. The Franchise Bottling Partners have been an integral part of the Coca-Cola systems and have operated our businesses in India since 1993,” the company added.

Published on December 08, 2019
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