The famous unit of Pepsico got shut down in Kerala. Workers have increased demonstrations against the management of the two-decade-old Pepsi manufacturing unit in Kerala’s Palakkad, for deciding to shut down operations amid the pandemic. The plant that is located at Kanjikode East in Palakkad and operated by Varun Beverages Limited, was manufacturing carbonated drinks and packaging drinking water for almost 20 years. According to its employees, the plant employed 112 permanent staff and over 500 contract employees.
Following news of the plant shutting down, its workers have now chosen to start a demonstration demanding satisfactory pay to all those employed by the plant. Employees have also asked that the government, especially the Labour and Industries departments that it should intervene to ensure fair compensation to all those who are slated to lose their jobs. The company has reportedly admitted to only pay compensation to the permanent staff of the plant, leaving hundreds of its contract employees in the dark.
“There are over 700 people working for the plant with regard to its ancillary activities, apart from the 112 permanent staff. This includes lorry drivers who carry the consignments. The company has been operating here for 20 years,” a worker who worked at the plant told local media. On September 22, Varun Beverages Limited filed an application for closure of its plant in Palakkad, under sections 24-O of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947. It has also stated the reasons for its closure. A copy of this application was also served to the trade unions Palghat District Engineering and Industrial Mazdoor Sangham (BMS), and VBL Employees Union (CITU), the workers of which were employed in the plant.