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Starbucks clash with trade union in Chile

Aug 15

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15/08/2011 11:08  RssIcon

 Hundreds walk out over wages.

 

Since July 7th, around 200 unionised Starbucks workers in Chile have been on strike for better wages and conditions. Three of the union officials in Chile later went on a hunger strike as well.

Other Starbucks employees around the world who belong to the IWW Starbucks Workers Union began a "global week of action" on July 25th in solidarity with their Chilean colleagues by picketing in front of a Starbucks in New York City and leafleting in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, London and Melbourne, Australia.

The starting hourly wage for Chilean Starbucks workers is the equivalent of $2.50, an amount that hasn't changed in eight years. The workers at Starbucks's Chilean stores were pressing for, amongst other things, a lunch allowance similar one which managers receive and to have the company assume the full cost of their health insurance.

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson stated that "our starting baristas' total compensation is 30% above the industry average. We also cover 70% of their health care".

Starbucks entered Chile in 2003 and it is the only country where the company has a sizeable union presence, with around one third of the company's 670 baristas organized.

Starbucks came bottom of our ethical ranking of UK coffee shops in March 2011. Best Buy was AMT followed by Costa.


 

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