Coca-Cola to lay-off workers

Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc. said yesterday it is cutting its workforce in light of the recent developments in the beverage industry and business landscape.

In an emailed statement, the soft-drink maker said the “Coca-Cola System is undergoing an organizational structure assessment,” which involves a comprehensive review of the roles and responsibilities within Coca-Cola FEMSA.

“This restructuring has been a very difficult decision,” the company said.

“It was carried out only after an exhaustive and conscientious assessment of the evolving regulatory environment, our operational efficiency, and consequent performance in the market,” it said.

Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines declined to disclose how many workers will be affected.

According to its website, the company has an employee base of around 8,000 in the Philippines.

The announcement came weeks after the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law was passed, which mandates a P6 per liter excise tax on beverages using caloric and non-caloric sweeteners and P12 per liter on beverages using high-fructose corn syrup.

Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Corporate Affairs and Legal director Juan Lorenzo Tañada earlier said the beverage industry consumes as much as 40 percent of the country’s total sugar production, the bottling facilities accounting for 60 percent of the industry demand.

“We are grateful for the valuable contributions of those who were affected and thank them for being part of the company,” Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines said.

“Rest assured that we will treat the people who will be affected with dignity, fairness, and respect throughout this process. Everyone will be given career transition support, as well as separation packages that go beyond what is mandated by law,” it said.*(Ted Cordero/GMA News)