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Issue #1600      July 3, 2013

Stop PepsiCo’s brutal attack

Workers who are members of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) at West Bengal warehouses exclusively contracted by PepsiCo are fighting for fairness and justice in the face of mass dismissals as a result of exercising their right to join a union: 162 workers out of 170 have been brutally fired.

The company was officially informed about workers joining a union after the workers submitted documents for registering their union on February 27, 2013. The management immediately started to threaten the workers with dismissal if they insisted on forming the union. PepsiCo India managers hired some local union-busting thugs who assaulted the workers and the company dismissed 50 workers as a first reaction to unionisation.

In response to these attacks the union reacted by going on a one-day warning strike from midnight of April 29, 2013. Workers along with the union leaders made a police complaint about coordinated threats and assaults by management but no action was taken by the police no doubt heavily influenced by PepsiCo management. After this incident, management fired a further 112 workers without any notice and recruited new workers as replacements.

In addition to denying these basic rights PepsiCo is also complicit in the use of labour contractors that are not officially licensed (something that is mandatory). Workers are therefore not paid the current minimum wages set since January 1 this year and no social security payments are made for them as required by law.

A public action at the ILP cricket match on May 26 criticised PepsiCo’s role in the mass termination of workers and human rights abuses at the warehouses contracted by PepsiCo.   

Next article – Brazil protests: some background

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