Coca-Cola workers in three Chinese cities have gone on strike following the company’s announcement that it will sell off its bottling operations in the country.
The company announced that it will divest its bottling stakes in China last Thursday between Swire Beverage Holdings Ltd. and China Foods Ltd., part of state-owned COFCO.
According to the Chinese service for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), workers in Chongqing, Chengdu and Jilin held protests and went on strike on Monday, causing plants to halt production. They were protesting over concerns that COFCO will cut staff after it takes over.
According to photos of protest banners on social media, workers in Jilin and Chongqing are requesting meetings with the beverage giant to communicate their concerns. They demanded that no changes be made to conditions such as regular raises, staff positions, benefits and other entitlements within two years. They also requested a buyout offer from the company.
Keegan Elmer, a researcher at Hong Kong-based NGO China Labour Bulletin (CLB), told HKFP that it was exceptional to see workers taking apparently coordinated action against a multinational company across three different cities.
From the common protest banners, common lists of demands and the fact that the protests occurred at roughly the same time, it is clear that they were coordinated, Elmer said.
“It’s increasingly common, actually. Workers’ organisation skills have been increasing over the years.”