Union General Meeting UMSU

Why have we boycotted Coca-Cola?

Coke’s human rights abuses and evironmental disregard is well documented. War on Want found that the Coke bottling plants in India were draining vast quantities of ground water to produce their soft drinks. This leads to water shortages in an already regularly drought riden country. Wells dry up, farmers can’t irigate crops, so crops fail and poverty is perpetuated. The bottling plants also spew out untreated toxic waste, which poisons any water that remains. Generous as they are Coca-Cola offered the farmers effected a compensation package in the form of fertilizer, fertilizer that contained dangerous levels of the toxic chemicals, cadmium and lead.

In colombia at least 9 workers at Coke bottling plant have been murdered since 1994 and hundreds have been kidnapped or intimidated by paramillitaries for trying to trade unionise. New York councellor Monserat found that these abuses went on, if not with the complicity, at least with the knowledge of the directors of Coca Cola.

Will this effect union revenues?

It shouldn’t effect the money the union takes on soft drinks. sussex, who recently boycotted Coke, found that the takings on drinks did not fall at all. The alternative that they provide is actually cheaper for the union to purchase than coke, so profits have gone up. A sound bussiness decision as well as an ethical one.

Shouldn’t students make up their own minds?

As a democrtatic, membership organisation we have the right to decide what to sell in our union. The union isn’t just another place to get cheap drinks or see a gig, it’s an organisation that has principals and values. Coke doesn’t live up to the standards that we expect from a company and so we will not sell their products in our union. We beleive that as a Union we should not make money from, or give money to a company that is responsible for scuh human rights abuses, environemntal destruction, Union busting, displacement and murder. Until this changes there will be no Coke sold in the Union.

Will it have any effect?

With other Unions across the UK joining this boycott we are already costing Coke a lot of money and prestige. If this motion gets passed at NUS it will mean that Coke will lose their single largest contract in the UK. Because the Union workers in India and colombia have called for this action we beleive that such an enourmous cut in profits and the damage to the reputatation that this would cause would force Coca Cola to reconsider their management and support of human Rights violati

via Union General Meeting UMSU.

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