Venezuela: ‘We don’t need Coke’ — Chavez backs Coca-Cola workers

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his support for workers in a dispute at a Venezuelan Coca-Cola plant conflict in a televised address on February 4.

“If Coca-Cola doesn’t want to comply with the constitution and the law, well, we can live without Coca-Cola,” he said to cheers from the crowd.

Chavez was speaking in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state, where 1230 workers are striking in a bottling and distribution plant of Coca-Cola Femsa.

The strike began on January 15 to demand a fair collective agreement, pay raises, food tickets, night shift bonuses, and a dining room. Workers earn 78 bolivars a day ($18) and are asking for 45 bolivars ($10.40) more.

The strike is supported by the National Union of Workers (Unete). The labour ministry has been talking to the workers and management.

[Abridged from]

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