Workers at Pepsi bottling plants in China protest takeover

27 June 2019
Several thousand workers in at least five Chinese cities have staged a coordinated protest against the takeover of PepsiCo’s bottling plants in the mainland by Taiwanese food and beverage conglomerate Tingyi Holdings.

Workers in Chongqing, Chengdu, Nanchang, Fuzhou and Changsha all took their annual leave on 14 November in a coordinated campaign to protect their jobs and demand assurances that pay, benefits and working conditions will not be eroded as a result of the takeover.

At least 1,100 of the 1,300 workers at the Fuzhou plant reportedly joined the initial protest, with similar numbers in the other cities. The workers at the five core plants then launched an online campaign to bring in the more than 20,000 workers from all 24 Pepsi bottling plants on the mainland.

The workers are demanding that PepsiCo either halt the merger or compensate them for pushing through the sale without consulting the workforce in advance. Different factories have specific demands but the protest leaders are hoping for talks with PepsiCo’s headquarters that can resolve the issues at all bottling plants.

PepsiCo issued a statement on 15 November in response to the workers’ action pledging not alter employee contracts should the deal with Tingyi Holdings be approved by the Chinese government. However, the mistrust of Taiwanese companies in the mainland is so entrenched that many workers are still demanding additional assurances.
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