PepsiCo has decided to close its production factory in Palakkad, Kerala. PepsiCo has had to close its factory due to labor strikes and protests. This has left about 500 people unemployed.
There was a lockout from March
The company had locked down the factory since March 22 this year due to unrest. About 15 years ago, Coke, the world’s second-largest soft drink company, closed its plant in the state. PepsiCo’s factory in Palakkad was run by its franchise Varun Beverages Limited. Eventually, the company has given the state Department of Labor a notice to close it.
From the right to the left, all the organizations were protesting
Workers have been protesting at the factory since December last year. These included members of the CPI (M) -affiliated CITU, the Congress-affiliated INTUC and the RSS-affiliated Indian Trade Union Confederation. The unions demanded that contract laborers be given better working conditions and additional pay. The company had not decided on the demand for a year.
For this, 280 contract laborers with 110 regular employees have been performing since December, which is affecting production. After this, the management locked the factory from March 22.
“We talked to management several times to improve the pay structure for contract laborers, but they always rejected our legitimate demands,” said S. Ramesh, CITU general secretary of Pepsi UBL. He also refused to meet the labor commissioner and other officials. So we had no choice but to protest.
These products were being made
The factory was set up in the year 2001 in Kanjikode, an industrial belt of Palakkad. It produced Pepsi brand packaged drinking water and soft drinks. In the year 2019, PepsiCo handed over the work of this plant to its bottling partner Varun Beverages, keeping in view all the benefits and constant demand of salary extra employees.
According to sources, the unit started suffering losses after a strike at the factory in February this year, which led management to decide to shut it down. After this, the people of the management were also attacked.