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Coca-Cola: Damaging the World

June 30, 2015 Newsletter

Contents

  1. Colombia: Trabajadores de Coca-Cola en huelga de hambre — Coke workers are on hunger strike
  2. Spain: Workers Winning
  3. Qatar: Coke, the Hypocrisy Cup & migrant worker deaths
  4. Nigeria: Coke plant shut down after death of worker
  5. El Salvador: Coke dejara a 30.000 personas sin agua en El Salvador — Coke will leave 30,000 people without water in El Salvador
  6. India: Coke losing ground
  7. Cambodia: Coke's supplier 'uses violence against villagers'
  8. 'Coca-Cola a Day', by Murder the Disturbed

1. Colombia

Report from SINALTRAINAL in Colombia (Spanish and English):

"Por la Vida y Libertad Sindical, Trabajadores de Coca Cola en Huelga de hambre"

Desde el 13 de Abril de 2015, trabajadores al servicio de Coca Cola, afiliados a Sinaltrainal, se han declarado en Huelga de Hambre, en la Plaza de Bolívar, en la ciudad de Bogotá D.C., exigiendo de las autoridades colombianas, conformar una mesa nacional con participación de Sinaltrainal y Coca Cola, para solucionar los siguientes casos:

En Barrancabermeja Coca Cola contrató a Carelis, esposa de Wilfred Martínez, reconocido jefe paramilitar “alias gavilán”, autor del atentado contra la infraestructura de Coca Cola, que amenazó, desplazó y falsamente acusa a dirigentes de Sinaltrainal y la Fiscalía abrió investigación por los delitos de concierto para delinquir y presumiblemente terrorismo..

Hemos sido víctimas de 12 asesinatos, encarcelamientos injustos por sucios montajes, van 68 y seguimos siendo amenazados de muerte, atentados contra la vida de trabajadores y familias, 54 desplazados y exiliados, luego de sobre vivir a atentados y escapar del secuestro, paramilitares que ingresaron a la embotelladora como ocurrió en Carepa Antioquia y obligaron a los trabajadores a renunciar a Sinaltrainal, quemando la sede sindical, reuniones de funcionarios de las embotelladoras de Coca Cola con comandantes paramilitares, como se evidencia en publicación de la revista Cambio.

Read Report in .PDF

Translation

"For life and freedom to organize, Coca-Cola workers are on hunger strike"

Since 2:00 p.m., April 13, 2015, workers at this multinational who are members of Sinaltrainal (national food and beverage trade union in Colombia) have called a Hunger Strike in the Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota, Colombia. They demand that Colombian authorities put together a national conference including Sinaltrainal and Coca Cola, to reach solutions in the following cases:

In Barrancabermeja, Coca Cola hired Carelis Cadavid, wife of the well-known paramilitary commander, Wilfred Martinez "alias Gavilan" ("Hawk") who carried out the attack on Coca Cola's infrastructure, and who threatened, displaced, and falsely accused the leaders of Sinaltrainal. Because of all this, the Attorney General opened an investigation for the crimes of criminal conspiracy and alleged terrorism...

We have been the victims of twelve murders, of unjust imprisonments, of 68 death threats, attacks on the lives of workers and their families, 54 displacements and several people have had to go into exile after surviving attacks and escaping from kidnapping. Paramilitaries barged into the plant in Carepa and forced the workers to resign from Sinaltrainal. After that they burned down the union office and stole equipment and files. The magazine Cambio on February 8, 1999, reported meetings between officials at the Coca Cola bottling plants and paramilitary commanders. In spite of that, up to now the paramilitaries who are under the Justice and Peace law have not reported the lengths to which the multinational has gone in its commitment in the Colombian conflict.

Read Report Translation

Hunger Strike Suspended

After talking with different officials and authorities, we [SINALTRAINAL] have agreed with Secretary of Government of Bogota City Hall, Dr. Gloria Florez and the Minister (e) of Labour, Dr. Enrique Borda, to lift the hunger strike by Coca-Cola workers.

The hunger strike is part of the national day for the life and freedom of association, which Sinaltrainal started on April 13 in several cities in Colombia.

"Finaliza huelga de hambre de trabajadores de Coca Cola"
Read Original Article


2. Spain

"Coca-Cola employees protest 'humiliating' company policies in Spain," RT, May 30, 2015

"Hundreds of employees from different corporations protested in Madrid's Puerta del Sol on Friday against low wages and unemployment. The protesters, many from Coca-Cola, Movistar and Bankia, are demanding far-reaching changes to the structure of the companies including a review of their dismissal policies."

See Video


"Spain's Court Voids Layoffs at Coca-Cola Bottler — Court Says Spanish Bottler Didn't Present Workers With Detailed Reorganization Plan" by Chritopher Bjork, Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2015
Read article

"The ruling follows a dispute ongoing for more than a year and means workers at four out of 11 bottling plants that were scheduled to close can return to their jobs with back salaries...

Message from Coke Worker in Spain:

Muhtar Kent was in Coke headquarters in Madrid yesterday and we welcomed him at the back door where he got inside in a van with a cola...

We had about a hundred people outside the building and inside they were so nervous working on the catering. Before they left the building, they called the special cops to cover them.

A great day!

Do you remember that I told you that we won the Supreme Court case? Coke wanted to open up a warehouse; they didn't want to open up a production factory, so we blocked the gates and didn't allow them to set up the warehouse.

3. Qatar

"Coke, the Hypocrisy Cup & Migrant Worker Deaths"

WATCH: Documentary exposes 'dreadful' conditions of Qatar labor force, calls out Coca-Cola and other World Cup sponsors

"The camera's lens sweeps down a flight of stairs in the four-story building near Doha, Qatar's capital, before panning in on dank sleeping quarters, where four bunk beds are squeezed into a dimly-lit space. A shirtless man wears nothing but yellow and green Bermuda shorts, his face blurred to protect his identity.

"Moments later, the viewer is led into filthy kitchen and bathroom areas, where feces and excrement are overflowing from a hole in the floor that serves as a toilet. Meat cooks in a frying pan on a decrepit stove, the walls around it rank with filth.

" 'These are the most appalling toilet conditions, with nothing but a hole in the ground and s--- spilling out onto the floor,' says Jaimie Fuller, the visitor seen in the documentary short, as he inspects one of the many labor camps around Qatar. 'A foot away from the toilet, if you want to call it that, is a shower. It's just dreadful.' "

Activists have set up wooden crosses during a protest called 'Red Card for FIFA. No World Cup in Qatar without Workers rights!' that was organized by the Swiss trade union UNIA in Zurich

Read the NY Daily News Article

"A World Cup built on the back of human rights abuses and corporate hypocrisy"

Watch Video on YouTube


"Visa and Coca-Cola express concern about Qatar World Cup, but don't expect much more" by Ryan Rosenblatt, SB Nation, May 20, 2015
Read Article

"Visa and Coca-Cola ... pay FIFA an estimated $30 million per year to be part of a handful of primary sponsors for the organization and every event they put on, but with reports of migrant worker deaths and inhumane working conditions in Qatar, especially with regards to building venues for the 2022 World Cup...

"Unfortunately, it's likely that Visa and Coca-Cola won't ... effect much change...Visa and Coca-Cola aren't demanding significant action and certainly aren't setting benchmarks for what's acceptable.' "


4. Nigeria

"Coca-Cola plant shut over death of worker" by Jethro Ibileke/Benin , PM News, May 31, 2015
Read Article

"Bottling operations at the Benin Coca-Cola plant of the Nigerian Bottling Company was abruptly halted on Friday by casual workers following the death of one of their colleagues whose name was given as Jerry Ayo...

"Uncle of the deceased who gave his name as Michael, said Jerry left home healthy but was brought back dead.

" 'His friends told us the production factory has leakages of electricity. They [Coca-Cola] took the boy to their clinic without the consent of the family,' he said.

"One of the casual workers who gave his name as Goodluck Osawe, said the deceased did not know that there were electric leakages in the plant, adding that 'he was in coma and they [Coca-Cola] did not tell us.' "

5. El Salvador

"Coca Cola dejara a 30.000 personas sin agua en El Salvador" La Verdad Oculta, Junio 9, 2015
Read Article

"En El Salvador, específicamente en el municipio de Nejapa, ubicado al norte de San Salvador, 30.000 personas están amenazadas de quedarse sin agua por la explotación del acuífero que está realizando la embotelladora de Coca-Cola...

Cabe destacar que las personas de Nejapa no tienen acceso a agua potable pese a que por allí pasa el río San Antonio, este, es la unica fuente de abastecimiento para miles de salvadoreños, sin embargo varías trasnacionales entre las cuales destaca Coca Cola extraen el agua de este río y contaminan otros ríos de la zona según denuncian las organizaciones de vecinos.

Translation:

"Coca Cola will leave 30,000 people without water in El Salvador," La Verdad Oculta, June 9, 2015
Read Article

In El Salvador, specifically in the municipality of Nejapa, located north of San Salvador, 30,000 people are threatened with running out of water because of exploitation of the water sources by Coca-Cola.

The people of Nejapa have denounced the danger to aquifers in the area as a result of poor management of industrial projects run by Coca Cola...

The people of Nejapa lack access to potable water although the San Antonio River passes there. This is the only source of water for thousands of Salvadorans and Coca-Cola is threatening that source. Coca-Cola is also contaminating other rivers in the area as reported by neighborhood organizations.


6. India

"Doubts on Coke's Water Numbers, Court Orders Verification: IRC Seeks Investigation of Water Recharge Claims," India Resource Center, June 4, 2015
Read Article

"Coca-Cola's claims on their water management at their disputed bottling plant in Varanasi, India are now under investigation by the court and the government. The India Resource Center has also written to the state and national pollution regulatory agencies, as well as the national groundwater authority, asking that Coca-Cola's groundwater recharge claims be verified. Coca-Cola claims that it has recharged almost three times the amount of groundwater than it extracts at its bottling plant in the village of Mehdiganj!

"The need to verify the amount of water actually recharged by companies such as Coca-Cola and other water intensive industries in India is important because the government — due to the sustained campaigns against beverage companies across India — has new rules which make groundwater usage by such industries contingent upon the amount of groundwater recharged."

"Campaigners defeat Coca-Cola plant in South India," The Ecologist, April 21, 2015
Read Article

"Local campaigners fearful of water shortages and industrial pollution have forced state authorities to cancel an unpopular plan to allocate land for a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Tamil Nadu, India...

"Coca-Cola failed to placate strong reservations based on the company's dismal track record elsewhere in India on water management, pollution prevention and community relations.

"The opposition to Coca-Cola was widespread, and a bandh (strike) organized on 5th March this year asking shops and businesses to shut down to show opposition to Coca-Cola was a major success.

"A large protest was slated for April 30, 2015 and organizers expected more than 10,000 to attend the rally against Coca-Cola. The police had denied permission for the protest but the organizers had just succeeded in getting the High Court to rule in their favor on April 9, 2015."


7. Cambodia

"The bitter aftertaste of a sugar deal gone bad," The Phnom Penh Post, May Titthara & Daniel Pye. June 6, 2015
Read Article

"Houy Mai has lost everything to the global demand for cheap sugar and biofuel. The 54-year-old mother-of-eight has fought a years-long battle with Mitr Phol, Asia's biggest sugar producer and one of three major suppliers to Coca-Cola...

" 'I think that what Coca-Cola has done here is illegal, because they buy sugar from this company that uses violence against villagers, forcefully takes over our land, and then Coca-Cola makes drinks to sell back to us,' she says.

" 'I don't have a problem with Coca-Cola buying sugar from farms in Cambodia, but they need to find somewhere else to plant [sugar cane] that does not affect people like this.'"


8. Song: "Coca-Cola a Day" by Murder the Disturbed

Listen to the Song in .MP3

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Sweet and sickly Coca-Cola rots your guts away
Neatly stacked in a ring pull can in stunning red and white
Neatly stacked upon a shelf it's such a lovely sight

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Sweet and sickly Coca-Cola rots your guts away
Hospitalised again this week, the case can now be proved,
That cola rots your guts away old pennies are the proof.

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Sweet and sickly Coca-Cola rots your guts away
Johnny's on the want again he wants a tin of pop,
Cola, crisps and sweets and chews, he wants the bloody lot

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Sweet and sickly Coca-Cola rots your guts away
Neatly stacked in a ring pull can in stunning red and white
Regular or diet
It's all a load of shite
(Holidays are coming, I'd like to teach the world to sing etc)

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Toxic poison Coca-Cola melts your brains away
Jenny's got the hump again she needs a little shot
Of fizzy toxic poison
Well colas got the lot

Coca-Cola Coca-Cola drink a can a day
Toxic poison Coca-Cola melts your brains away
They serve it with your burger when you're driving through in cars
It's only when your teeth fall out you know you've gone too far.