8 October 2009 Edition

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Boycott Coca-Cola call on Dublin City Council blocked by Fine Gael

Tuam shops remove Coca-Cola products in solidarity with 130 sacked workers

FINE GAEL members on Dublin City Council blocked an emergency motion tabled by Sinn Féin in support of striking workers at Coca-Cola at this week’s meeting on Monday night of the capital’s local government. The workers are fighting to prevent 130 jobs cuts to ‘out-sourcing’ by the hugely profitable global leader in soft drink sales. The company made €200 million profits in the first six months of this year.
On Tuesday, SIPTU, which respresents the 130 staff, called for an international campaign in support of the sacked workers.
The Dublin City Council motion, tabled by Councillors Larry O’Toole and Dessie Ellis, called for a boycott of Coca-Cola products
A similar motion was passed by Tuam Town Council in Galway last week in support of workers sacked from the Coca-Cola depot in the town. Mayor Tom Reilly called for a boycott of Coke products in Tuam and in other towns around Ireland where the company has a presence until it accepts Labour Court recommendations to end the dispute. Shops in Tuam shops have already removed Coca-Cola products from their shelves in solidarity.

Tabling the motion at Dublin City Council this week, the  Sinn  Féin  councillors  said:
“Coca-Cola HBC needed to engage in a meaningful  way  with  the  workers  and  to work through the industrial relations mechanisms that already exist.
“The  bottom  line  is  that we need to be protecting and saving as many  jobs  as  possible. Redundancies should be the last option on anybody’s mind. But if  redundancies  are  necessary  then  they  need  to  be implemented  in  an  agreed and fair manner with the workforce and their union.
“The  bullying  and  high-handed approach of the management at Coca-Cola HBC  to  date  has  been  unacceptable. The sacking of 130 workers is a disgrace and must be reversed.
“Coca-Cola is a highly profitable company. It and its subsidiaries need to treat their workforce with dignity and respect and until such time as they  do we are hopeful that members of Dublin City Council will support the striking workers and support this motion.”
But the motion fell because Fine Gael members withheld their support.

At the SIPTU biennial delegate conference in Tralee on Tuesday, Paddy Cahill, a retired union official who represented SIPTU members at Coca-Cola, said the media will suppress news of the campaign because of the huge financial clout Coca-Cola exercises through its massive advertising budget.
The attitude of Coca-Cola to negotiations has changed in the past year, he said. When SIPTU tried to open dialogue, the global giant dismissed their efforts and told the union that it would not tell them how to run their business.
Coca-Cola, he said, “does not give two fucks about the union”.

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