Investigative Report on Hangzhou Coca-Cola Bottling Plant

A Disaster Caused by the Dispatch Labor System!

Coke Concerned Student Group

December 2009

Preface

In 2008, we conducted investigations in five Coca-Cola bottling plants, including two in the Yangzi River Delta (Hangzhou BC Foods, Shanghai Shenmei) and three in the Pearl River Delta (Coca-Cola Dongguan, Swire Huizhou, and Swire Guangzhou). We discovered that in each of the five plants there were severe legal violations – long term and high volume use of dispatch labor, frequent workplace injuries, insufficient safety measures, wage deductions, wage arrears, excessive overtime, etc.

(Translator’s note: “dispatch labor” refers to workers who do not have a direct employment relationship with the enterprise where they work. It is similar to temp workers in the U.S. context.)

After publicly releasing the report in December 2008, there was a lot of media coverage and it resulted in a strong response from society. Coca-Cola had no choice but to respond to us, but they have continually denied the fundamental problem of illegal use of dispatch labor.

In May 2009, we released a second investigative report. Based on our return visits, there was some improvement in conditions for workers at the three plants in the Pearl River Delta, but there was almost no change at all in the Yangzi River Delta plants. Especially in the Hangzhou BC Foods plant, we did not hear of any improvements at all. However, none of the five bottling plants we investigated before nor the two new plants in the current investigation (Beijing and Tianjin) have changed in the slightest with regards to a most basic problem: long-term and high volume employment of dispatch labor.

Thus, this past summer we prioritized investigations in the Hangzhou BC Foods Coca-Cola bottling plant; once again, we were let down.

First of all, there has been no improvement at Hangzhou BC Foods since last year. There has been no reduction in the large volume of illegally employed dispatch workers, wages are still below the legal minimum for Hangzhou, safety is not ensured, and workers do not have insurance.

Second, just when the investigation was about to end, one of the students, Xiao Liang, was beaten for no reason in the office of the vice-general manager of Zhiqiang Company (the labor dispatch company for Hangzhou BC Foods) as he tried to recover his wages. Since this happened, Coca-Cola has been quite inactive in dealing with this matter, and in order to protect their brand image they have put all of the responsibility on Zhiqiang. […]

Full text of the report: http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/report-dec-2009-eng.pdf