PepsiCo to shut Kerala’s Manufacturing unit due to protests

PepsiCo bullish on India, increases investment at snacks plant in UP to Rs 814 crore
PTI | PepsiCo is committed to double its business from snacks business in India and also increasing the capacity of existing food plants in West Bengal and Maharashtra, and it has additionally proposed to set up a greenfield manufacturing facility in Assam.

After Coca-Cola, now PepsiCo has decided to take an exit route from Kerala due to labour issues with its franchise Varun Beverages Ltd approaching Labour Department with a mandatory closure notice.

The PepsiCo unit located at Kanjikode Palakkad, operated by franchise Varun Beverages Ltd, is in a lockout from March 22 over various labour protests.

“M/s Varun Beverages Ltd manufacturing carbonated soft drinks and packaged drinking water, is intended to be closed down under section 25-O of the Industrial dispute Act 1947 (Act 14 of 1947) and necessary application is filed to the Government, of Kerala on 22.09.2020 stating clearly the reasons for the intended closure,” the closure notice, dated September 22, stated.

The notice also stated that all affected workmen shall be paid their respective dues/compensation in accordance with the provisions of Section 25-0 (8) of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.

“The closure will come into effect on completion of 90 days of the above-referred date of 22.09.2020,” the notice further read, while its copy was also put up at the main gate of the plant, which the company said was for the information of all the 112 workmen.

The employees of the unions affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), INTUC, and BMS were on protest from last December, demanding wage hike and better service conditions for contract labourers.

With the protest intensifying and contract workers also joining the strike, the management declared a lockout from March 22.

However, CITU leader and Joint Trade Union Action Committee general secretary S Ramesh denied that the closure had anything to do with the strikes.

“We withdraw strikes in April and we hope that the management will go back from their move to close the plant. The closure would impact 700-odd employees who are directly or indirectly associated with the company. There are 112 direct employees and 250 contract employees besides others depending on the company,” he said.

He also said that many talks were held with management to find a solution but it didn’t yield results.

Earlier in 2004, Coca-Cola had winded up its operations at Plachimada in Palakkad owing to large-scale protests from people over the exploitation of groundwater.

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