Upcoming Events

International | Anti-Capitalism

no events match your query!

New Events


no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds



offsite link Ukraine Buys Huge Amounts of Russian Fue... Fri Jan 20, 2023 08:34 | Antonia Kotseva

offsite link Turkey Has Sent Ukraine Cluster Munition... Thu Jan 12, 2023 00:26 | Jack Detsch

offsite link New Israeli Government Promises to Talk ... Tue Jan 10, 2023 21:13 | Al Majadeen

offsite link Russia Training Iranian Pilots Ahead of ... Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:19 | The Times of Israel

offsite link Lukashenko Abolishes Copyright Protectio... Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:05 | Nikki Main

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Alternative Copy of thesaker.is site is available Thu May 25, 2023 14:38 | Ice-Saker-V6bKu3nz
Alternative site: https://thesaker.si/saker-a... Site was created using the downloads provided Regards Herb

offsite link The Saker blog is now frozen Tue Feb 28, 2023 23:55 | The Saker
Dear friends As I have previously announced, we are now “freezing” the blog.  We are also making archives of the blog available for free download in various formats (see below). 

offsite link What do you make of the Russia and China Partnership? Tue Feb 28, 2023 16:26 | The Saker
by Mr. Allen for the Saker blog Over the last few years, we hear leaders from both Russia and China pronouncing that they have formed a relationship where there are

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/02/27 ? Open Thread Mon Feb 27, 2023 19:00 | cafe-uploader
2023/02/27 19:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The stage is set for Hybrid World War III Mon Feb 27, 2023 15:50 | The Saker
Pepe Escobar for the Saker blog A powerful feeling rhythms your skin and drums up your soul as you?re immersed in a long walk under persistent snow flurries, pinpointed by

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Joe Duffy is dishonest and untrustworthy Anthony

offsite link Robert Watt complaint: Time for decision by SIPO Anthony

offsite link RTE in breach of its own editorial principles Anthony

offsite link Waiting for SIPO Anthony

offsite link Formal complaint against Robert Watt Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Colombian Union Replies to Coca Cola

category international | anti-capitalism | press release author Friday December 05, 2003 10:41author by Gearoid O Loingsigh - Lasc Report this post to the editors

More coke lies exposed by Union

The Union takes on some of the arguments presented by Coke and regurgitated by Siptu and others in Ireland.



This communique aims to make a number of clarifications in response to a letter from Martin Norris, Director of Communications of Coca Cola Great Britain.

In spite of all our denouncements, demands and petitions to the government to safeguard our lives and trade union activity, the same modus operandi continues. The agression is accentuated each time we enter the annual negotiation round, or each time the Coca Cola corporation implements restructuring that affects the workers and SINALTRAINAL.

This is shown by recent events:

• On 22nd August 2003 there was an assassination attempt on JUAN CARLOS GALVIS Vice-president of SINALTRAINAL in Barrancabermeja.

• Then on 10th September 2003, when at 1pm at a place known as Simón Bolívar Boulevard in the city of Barranquilla, four unknown subjects who had covered their faces with hoods took 15 year old DAVID JOSE CARRANZA CALLE from the bicycle he was riding. David is the son of LIMBERTO CARRANZA, a worker in Coca Cola in Barranquilla and a national leader of SINALTRAINAL. The assailants forced David into a white van, in which he was driven around while being tortured and interrogated on the whereabouts of his father. At about 4.30pm they threw David out at a place known as Ahuyama Canyon, where the youth was picked up by a passer-by and taken to the police. Meanwhile a telephone call was received at Limberto Carranza's residence. The caller said

“Son of a bitch trade unionist, we are going to crush you, and not just you, we are going to attack your home".

• At about 9pm on 11th September in Bucaramanga Coca Cola workers and local union leaders LUIS EDUARDO GARCIA an JOSÉ DOMINGO FLORES were together at the entrance to Almendros residences when two subjects set about them with blows.

• And on 30th October Everth Suárez president of the Cali branch of SINALTRAINAL who works at the Coca Cola bottling plant in that city received a death threat.

Meantime on 9th September 2003 COCA COLA FEMSA S.A. corporation launched an offensive in all the Colombia bottling plants, following similar offensives in 2000 and 2001. The corporation enclosed the workers by force in the factories or in hotels, pressurising them to renounce their employment contracts in exchange for a one-off payment. They used the [consultancy] firm called HTM for this, and they posted armed guards at the doors of the hotel meeting rooms. The state authorities did not act to prevent this but, on the contrary, they lent themselves to acting in co-ordination with the employer, pressurising the workers to sign the papers as happened in Barrancabermeja with SANDRA MARIA PAJARO, an official of the Ministry of Work and Social Protection.

Using this blackmail, psychological terrorism and illegal procedure, Coca Cola has converted bottling plants into mere distribution centres, closing down bottling production in Montería, Cartagena, Valledupar, Cúcuta, Barrancabermeja, Pereira, Neiva, Villavicencio and Duitama. After holding the workers on 9th September, from 12th September they started handing out redundancy notices according to the Ministry of Work and Social Protection procedure. And on 10th September the employer unjustly sacked two workers, PEDRO ANDRADE and SERGIO SILVA, in the city of Cúcuta to create fear amongst the workers so that they renounce their contracts.

This decision of COCA COLA FEMSA S.A. forms part of its cost reduction strategy, of subcontracting the workforce, eliminating trade union organisation and the collective work agreement, to concentrate production in a small number of bottling 'megaplants' with fewer workers, from which they supply the market through distribution centres. We have seen this scenario coming for many years. The corporation has been preparing the way to strike this blow against the workers, and is now taking advantage of the situation of sharpening unemployment, poverty and misery in the country handed to it by the government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.

This action by Coca Cola as an employer violates Colombian law, since it closed the bottling plants without following legal process concerning employer's strike, illegal closures and sackings. For this reason we have placed motions at the regional offices on the Minstry of Work and Social Protection for it to intervene against the illegal closures, the lockout and the boss's strike being executed by COCA COLA FEMSA S.A., PANAMCO COLOMBIA S.A., EMBOTELLADORA ROMAN S.A. and/or EMBOTELLADORA DE SANTANDER S.A..

The corporation is violating the norms established in the current collective agreements. It cannot sack workers, but must retrain them and relocate them in a new function. Because of the above, and as a demonstration of our good will, we held a meeting with the vice-president of Coca Cola Femsa S.A. at 3.00pm on 16th September 2003 in Bogotá. We demanded the application of this norm [in the agreement], but up to now it has not been implemented.

In spite of all the pressure today more than 300 workers continue resisting and struggling in the factories, but the reponse of the management has been to try and illegally dismantle the machinery, as happened on 12th November 2003 in the Cúcuta and Cartagena factories, where the response of the workers stopped them.

It is an unethical and immoral abuse to try and justify [these actions by saying] it is a problem of generalised violence that persists in Colombia. This renders invisible the persecution that we the trade unionists are victims of, resulting in our stigmatisation and demonisation by employers sectors and the state - as is established in the security manuals on national security imposed by the USA. Even less do we accept that the corporation is trying to compete [in matter of human rights violations] by claiming how many on one side or the other have been victims, when at root we are all people who lend a service to the corporation through the means of a work contract.
What is certain is that Coca Cola corporation has directly or indirectly benefitted, and that we have been the victims of sexual harassment, 9 assassinations, more than 15 imprisonments, 67 death threats, kidnappings, forced displacements, the setting fire of a trade union office, all executed by paramilitaries and obliging many workers to renounce the union. [We have also suffered] the unjust termination of work contracts, the subcontracting of more than 88% of the workers and the impact that this has had on their conditions of life, besides the stigmatisation and false accusations against the trade unionists, trying to link them with terrorism and delinquency.
It is no lie to say justice is inoperative in Colombia. Government officers do not act to prevent these crimes and their authors have impunity.

We continue in the search for truth, justice and reparations, initiating a claim in the Florida District Court in the USA against Coca Cola's bottlers. On 31st March 2003, judge José E. Martínez concluded that the cases taken out under the Alien Tort Claims Act (“ATCA”) concerning violations of human rights can go forward because, amongst other reasons, there exists a simbiotic relationship between the paramilitaries and the Colombian state.

But now, as a mechanism of impunity where the victimisers cast themselves as victims, in an attempt to criminalise our right to claim justice by taking a case to a US court, Coca Cola's Colombian bottling companies PANAMCO Colombia S. A. and Embotelladora de Santander S. A., (now Coca Cola Femsa S.A.) have through Mr. JAIME BERNAL CUELLAR who acts as lawyer for the Coca Cola multinational, demanded a warrant against us who have entered the case in the US. They are accusing us with the crimes [under Colombian law] of slander and calumny. And so Public Attorney 61, Juan Carlos Losada Perdomo proferred a charge against LUIS JAVIER CORREA SUAREZ, JORGE HUMBERTO LEAL, JUAN CARLOS GALVIS, LUIS EDUARDO GARCÍA, ÁLVARO GONZÁLEZ, JOSÉ DOMINGO FLÓREZ and EDGAR ALBERTO PÁEZ MELO, all members of the leadership of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos “SINALTRAINAL”. Paradoxically, JAIME BERNAL CUELLAR was Prosecutor General of the Nation at the time when several crimes were committed against the workers and SINALTRAINAL. We protested and sought his intervention but he never acted.

The efforts that have been made to protect trade unionists have, firstly, been insufficient. Secondly, they are a duty of the employer and the state. Thirdly, the few measures are a result of our struggle and protests, as are the gains we have achieved in collective agreements to try and minimise risks. But since the corporation has wanted to portray these gains as the fruit of its benevolence and not its duty, it is neccessary to explain that the majority of the measures have been put in place by the Colombian state as a result of all the national and international pressure, and because the Political Constitution of our country establishes [this duty]. But the attacks have not stopped, so what does it serve to try and show that trade unionists are being protected when we continue to be criminalised, persecuted and assassinated for our trade union activity.

Coca Cola's bottling companies say that they deplore any act of violence against any trade union leader, but it as been they themselves who falsely accused us of being guerrillas or terrorists, it is they who are carrrying out anti-union campaigns to avoid workers joining the union, or pressurising union members to resign. It is not sufficient that they condemn violence theoretically, they have to adopt a respectful conduct towards our human rights and repare the damages suffered by the victims.

For some years SINALTRAINAL did not dare make public denouncements because it waited trustingly for Colombia's justice to work, but this did not happen. And so we are now seeking justice, trurth and reparations and above all we count on international solidarity. The facts are there. Yet on each and every occasion we give our evidence Coca Cola says that it did not happen, but we have lived through with our flesh and blood these experiences. We have realised that this is a way of maintaining impunity, to try and make people believe the opposite of things that really happened by repeating lies indefinitely.

Other trade union organisations exist inside Coca Cola's bottling plants, and they are trying to say that the events that we are denouncing did not take place. All of these organisations were created recently and the majority of them did not have any presence where the crimes were committed.

The International Foodworkers Union does not have the right to interpret for us and less to lie about what has occurred. They have not been present in the places where the barbarities took place. It is very easy to speak from long distance without really knowing what happened. We do not want to enter into a debate with them because this would divert attention away from the pressure we are buildning up on Coca Cola to modify its behaviour in Colombia.

It is true that the US judge removed Coca Cola [i.e. the parent company as a defendant from the civil action], but this decision is under appeal. In any case Coca Cola is directly involved as a shareholder of its subsidiary Panamco and through its control of the whole process through the franchises. This is not only a legal matter, but an ethical and moral one as well.

It is not true to say that Colombian justice has not been involved with the bottling companies. Rather it is precisely the failure of the justice system in Colombia to act that is responsible for the grave problem of impunity which allows the intellectual and material authors of crimes to remain free while committing all forms of abuse.

Yours faithfully,


Bogotá D. C. – Colombia, 18th November 2003

author by Sean MacGabhainnpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The boycott tactic is a disaster and the sectarianism toward SIPTU workers is too
This is a specific response to “Colombian Union Replies to Coca Cola” by Gearoid O Loingsigh - Lasc Friday, Dec 5 2003, 9:41a.” It is also an attempt to make some general arguments.

I am submitting it here because the issue of the wisdom of the boycott coke tactic has only been addressed in reaction to the series of postings that have pushed the boycott further or that have sought to unnecessarily slander the position of Irish Coca Cola workers.
Specific questions asked about the detail of the situation in Colombia have not been addressed. I have taken the trouble to read both the material submitted here by the supporters of the boycott and I have contacted SIPTU to enquire about the detail of their position. As far as I am aware those who are pushing the boycott have not bothered to find out about the detail of the information that the SIPTU workers have independently unearthed – even though some have said that it has relevance for the action taken by the Colombian trade union SIONANTRAINAL.

The argument has been made that since SIPTU do not support the boycott call that they can effectively be treated as some kind of ‘enemy’ of solidarity. This is a seriously flawed sectarian approach. Whatever arguments can be advanced about the trade union bureaucracy (and they are many and genuine), they do not apply here.

The workers in Coca Cola have not acted in a bureaucratic manner. They have been open about their stance and they have attempted to address it directly to those who were asked to make a decision on the boycott tactic. It is clear that those who support the boycott tactic have a problem with this as they have rarely if ever addressed the point that they are directly in confrontation with a group of ordinary workers and not with the trade union bureaucracy as a whole. This obvious fact has been avoided for sectarian and opportunist reasons and is a sign of arrogance that is essentially middle-class and divorced from the need to build real workers solidarity as part of a campaign to expose the role of a multi-national corporation in alleged collusion with far right forces. That this multinational is politically part of the system of capitalist and imperialist exploitation is not in doubt.

What is in doubt is the capacity of this campaign to argue for and convince on the detail of physical, as opposed to political collusion with, and actual responsibility for, direct attacks on workers rights and on he lives of workers and their families. The fact that the boycott coke call has seriously alienated workers in the Coca Cola system is also not in doubt. The only way in which this problem can be dealt with is to avoid it by refusing to engage with the Coca Cola workers and by the use of slanderous statements to the effect that the workers in Ireland, or as represented in and by the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF), are partners in attacks on workers rights in Colombia. This is in itself such a serious error, that for that reason alone a counter argument needs to be delivered.

Gearoid O’ Loinsisigh has written the following (it is a repetition of a point he continues to make and which I attempted to address to him directly, but which he has avoided tackling, just as he and others have avoided staying in contact with coca cola workers and their representatives). The boycott tactic has created this state of affairs.

“More coke lies exposed by Union
The Union takes on some of the arguments presented by Coke and regurgitated by Siptu and others in Ireland.”

This is unadulterated nonsense in relation to SIPTU – nothing said by SIPTU workers puts them in the camp of the Coca Cola company. This is a pathetic attempt at 'guilt tripping'.

I note that Gearoid has not answered a single specific question I asked in recent previous posts in which I demonstrated that SIPTU have taken their own independent stance and have argued coherently that the boycott tactic is flawed as a means of drawing them into struggle. The workers are also defending their own livelihoods, a basic condition of effective trade union action. In this case they are defending their jobs against people who ignore their existence as Irish Coca Cola workers, refuse to engage with them and censored and physically assaulted them when they attempted to bring their issues of concern to UCD students.

Supporters of the boycott want an effective boycott where production of this product produced in Ireland is curtailed. That is turn will cause downward rationalisation of employment – the very thing that SINANTRAINAL are fighting Colombia – and will weaken the organization of workers here in order to allegedly strengthen the very same thing in Colombia. This is the flaw that Coca Cola workers have spotted and that has never been seriously addressed, except to argue pitifully (and irrelevantly to workers who are potentially thrown into the poverty of unemployment) that if workers lose jobs it will be “the company’s fault” (note to pedants: the point is a paraphrase of arguments posted here and put at a meeting with Coca Cola workers – who thought the person putting it was seriously deluded). What will the response be to that, a boycott of Coca Cola produced by some other franchise company in some other faraway land?

This argument is about the wisdom of the boycott tactic.

The tactic is flawed and will do more harm than good. It may indeed do some good in drawing attention to Colombia, but it also has the effect of dividing workers from each other and as it is pushed for (what appear to be) sectarian reasons, will weaken the prospect for solidarity from Irish and other Coca Cola workers.

Unfortunately, nowhere in the communiqué (published here on December 5) is there a demonstrable link established between state repression, far right attacks and Coca Cola – except for the association of a departed management team member comment about liquidating the union and a later attack by far right forces. Yes there are clear links between the far right and the state and it is clear that such attacks by the state and its official and unofficial agents benefit the capitalist class and capitalist companies in Colombia. There is no doubt that fear, intimidation and terror is instilled into workers and trade unionists in Colombia. There is also no doubt that the US administration is behind the attempt to defeat and to liquidate the capacity of Colombian workers and their allies to fight for and to sustain basic civil and human rights. There can also be no doubt that multinational corporations that are tied into the structure of US capitalism or imperialism benefit from the assault on workers rights. Their indigenous agents will also utilize whatever means are at hand that they believe they can use with impunity to drive back the capacity of workers to fight back.

There is a demonstrable argument in favour of putting pressure on the Colombian state for its failure to protect a the rights of workers and for its links with far right forces engaged in the act of terrorizing workers.

There is a link between Coca Cola FEMSA SA and an attack on the right of trade union organisation and representation.

It is a great pity that these events are not being brought directly to workers in Coca Cola around the world and to the attentions of their trade unions. It is a great pity and a serious mistake for SINANTRAINAL not to be demanding to participate fully in the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and to have these events exposed in front of workers representatives from around the world. Instead there is a dismissal of the IUF stance and the comment:

“We do not want to enter into a debate with them [the IUF] because this would divert attention away from the pressure we are building up on Coca Cola to modify its behavior in Colombia.”

Since the IUF also wants to modify the behavior of Coca Cola in Colombia this is short sighted, to say the least. As in so much else, there is the attempt to bypass potential allies when they raise difficulties with the SINALTRAINAL boycott stance. Instead of debate in common workers organizations there is sole emphasis on winning money reparations from a US court.

There is also a reliance on anti-capitalist protesters who have a seriously underdeveloped understanding of the role of workers’ solidarity, the need to build it and to make alliances in the workers movement. Instead of making allies, SINALTRAINAL and its allies are creating divisions where none need arise.

Why not invite the IUF to come to Colombia and to verify what SINALTRAINAL is alleging? The communiqué says that the IUF is not on the ground in Colombia. Rectify that then (if indeed it needs rectification) by inviting the IUF to look for themselves. The refusal to discuss and debate only weakens the case of trade unionists under attack in Colombia. If there is a problem with the IUF, then it needs to be demonstrated in detail and clearly. The dismissive comment contributed by the SINALTRAINAL rep is seriously inadequate. It expects those who want to help in building solidarity to choose to accept the word of one party within the workers movement at face value and without scrutiny. The statement that no debate will be entered into with the IUF on its stance means that there is no way of evaluating the basis of the case of SINANTRAINAL. Refusing to engage in discussion and debate results in the type of weaknesses that are exposed in the SINANTRAINAL communiqué.

Why should workers in Ireland that are part of an international organization that they have no reason to distrust accept on face value, without scrutiny, an alternative view of another organisiation that refuses to engage in real debate on the issues in dispute and that has supporters that dismiss their concerns and ignore them?

There is no reason why Coca Cola workers in Ireland would not make common cause with their brothers and sisters in Colombia, but not at the needless expense of their jobs here. That would only have the effect of weakening union organization within the Coca Cola system. It would be a pointless kamikaze gesture. But that is precisely what the boycott Coca Cola stance is proposing.

Everything I have seen here weakens the call for the boycott and strengthens the need for Coca Cola workers to make common cause. The boycott call divides SINALTRAINAL workers from each other in Colombia, divides SINALTRAINAL workers from Coca Cola workers in Ireland and from their brothers and sisters around the world. It also has the effect of miss educating young people who want to engage in effective international solidarity.

The sectarian attitude toward the Coca Cola workers in Ireland misseducates young people about how to engage with organised Irish workers and with the trade union bureaucracy. Instead of pushing an open door they are shutting the door to workers’ participation. All the evidence suggests that the workers in SIPTU have an open mind and are prepared to engage in a common cause. Genuine supporters of the boycott will get the impression that workers in Ireland are a lost cause and will get the further impression that organized workers are inherently reactionary or are not a necessary part of a struggle of solidarity with workers in struggle against oppression. They will also be left with the utterly mistaken impression that organized workers are not part of anti-capitalist protest (or that a distinction can be made with regard to workers in Ireland and in Latin America).

The boycott tactic prevents the issues of concern from the being brought to organized Irish workers. Instead of the neutrality and uninvolvement of workers (which is merely tolerable if not advisable), it is guaranteeing their hostility. It is a disaster and is daily causing a reaction among Coca Cola workers and ordinary elected representatives within the structures of the SIPTU union.

If we are in a situation where a trade union under attack is uninterested in active trade union solidarity, then we are in a unique situation. If we are in a situation where scoring points against the Coca Cola workers and their representatives is the aim of the campaign than so be it. Those who are capable of thinking the issues through will make their own judgments. Some of the judgments may not be immediately apparent and will only be made with hindsight. Regrets will be expressed about missed opportunities. But by then it will probably be too late and a section of organized workers will miss the opportunity to participate with anti-capitalist protesters in effective solidarity and anti-capitalist protesters will miss the opportunity to see the effectiveness of real trade union solidarity.

Of course none of this could happen automatically. It requires careful work and consideration – and respectful attention to the views of others. I get the impression from Gearoid and others that there is an expectation that automatic support should be forthcoming. It s a case of “accept our word (testimony) and do what we say”. It is a patronizing third-worldist approach that can never hope to convince workers in a country with its own history of struggle against imperialism in an economy that is also dominated by multinationals.

There is an impression given that workers here are in some sort of “privileged” position vis a vis workers in other parts of the world. It is almost as though to question a tactic is a sign of refusal to come to the aid of oppressed people. Workers here in this state are also oppressed (not equally oppressed since workers here today are not subject to death squads). Nevertheless there is an obvious link of common experience in a franchise of a multinational company and as exploited wage earners who are subject to the fluctuations of the market and to attempts by employers to weaken their position.

In order to draw the link between death squads and a multinational company it is necessary to draw the link between workers here and in Colombia. That that is not happening is solely down to the boycott tactic and for no other reason.

If you are in a hole, stop digging. Especially, stop the sectarian slander of the position of SIPTU Coca Cola workers. It is helping no one who wants to build solidarity on this issue and it is a serious mistake for a solidarity organization And, while you are at it drop the cause of the emergence of this political slander, the boycott tactic..

Cut and paste of the above communiqué from Sinaltrainal snipped by one of the IMC Editorial collective

author by cabhogpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank god for sopme balance and information on th debate. Would appear to me that Sin... are over playing their hand, I wonder if they have another agenda by any chance

author by lurkalotpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 14:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, their agenda is to try to stop their members from being killed

author by cabhogpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1) In the debate on this matter in other places mention is made of a close relationship between Sin.. and ELN and FARC. Surely these links need to be explorered before every one rushes to support Sin and their boycott?

2) What is the end game? What do SIN.. want at the end of the day? What are their exact demands?

3) What do the Irish supporters of the boycott hop to achieve, beyond a boycott, what do they want COke to do?

author by imc userpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 15:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sure no one would mind if they were deleted. If "cabhog" has sincere questions ot ask of Sinaltrianal, then he may write to them.
Thereafter he may avail of open publishing to write an article on whether or not he may substantiate the accusations of "connections" between FARC / ELN and that union. He may like to qoute Sionantrial and Amnesty on the connections between Coca cola personnel and such orgs. Meanwhile, I'm sure no one would mind if this comment and the three immediately above are deleted.

author by cabhogpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

what comments are unfounded?

I asked 3 questions, and IMC user wants me censored. I don't think i made any unfounded comments.

Could you please elaborate

author by Joepublication date Thu Dec 11, 2003 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean I'm not a big fan of boycott tactics, in part for the reasons you outline in respect to them leading to threats to employment. However in this case because the call for a boycott
1. Came from Colombia
2. Was limited to one year
3. Was part of a wider campaign
I'd no problem supporting it and haven't had a drop of coke for months.

Now in relation to UCD there clearly was a complete failure of communications between the students organising the campaign and the SIPTU Food branch. Fault does lie on both sides but while the students only have a few years of experience, very little of it with unions, SIPTU and in particular Ann Speed has a huge range of experiences in this area. As such the blame for the communications cock up has to be laid at the door of those who should have known better.

The first contacts with SIPTU left the students with three impressions
1. That SIPTU members denied all the allegations against Coke
2. That SIPTU members were actually defending not just their jobs but the 'good name' of the company they worked with
3. That there was an implied physical threat against the student organisers arising from the presence of what they took to be a minder who had nothing to say at the meeting. (I very much doubt such a threat existed, that's not the point here though, the level of communications cock up that led to them believing it might be true is).

SIPTUs next step was to intervene in the internal student debate and decision making process in a manner that violated the UCDSU rules. Not just once but twice. Can you imagine the outrage if during the original ILDA dispute the ATGWU had organised a similar intervention?

Now the students have voted not just once but twice to support the boycott. It is quite likely that other student unions will follow that route.

From this you seem to have decided that the best way forward is to pursue a vendetta with Gearoid. He is not a UCD student and so is not that big a part of the UCD story, he was subject to the same rules as SIPTU in the referendum. You also demand that the boycott be droppped but propose NO alternatives to it.

Quite how you imagine either of these 'tactics' will convince some 'anti-capitalist' students that SIPTU is really all right is beyond me. If anything it seems to make things a lot worse (incidentally I'm a SIPTU member myself so I don't see this as a good thing).

It's clear that the only way forward is for the Dublin SIPTU members in Coke to make some direct contacts with Sinatal and see if there is something they can usefully do in solidarity with them. It might well be that out of that process both unions can agree on a strategy that might even include removal of the boycott.

Now that would convince all involved that the unions in general and SIPTU in particular are suitable vehicles for pursuing a solidarity agenda. Pursuing a vendetta with Gearoid here will convince no one of that.

One simple starting suggestion. Why not organise a joint Dublin SIPTU/LASC delegation to the Coke plants in Colombia and publish a report on actual conditions there on your return. Bridges would of course have to be mended en route but that would be a good idea in any case.

author by Anne Speedpublication date Sun Dec 14, 2003 22:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A reply can be found in separate "Reply to Siptu member" piece by me. This was necessitated by the moving of the Sean MacGabhainn article above - and all the comments that came with it down to Joe's comment - off the front page Newswire by an Indy Media editor to this page, where it lay undetected.

Number of comments per page
© 2001-2023 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy