Coke ban still fizzing in Dublin

November 28, 2003

Students at University College Dublin have voted to keep a ban on the sale of Coca-Cola products in student union outlets on campus.

A referendum has resulted in 59 per cent of students voting in favour of upholding the ban, which was imposed after a referendum last month.

Referenda may now be held in other colleges.

Supporters of the ban claim Coca-Cola has been complicit with paramilitaries in Colombia in anti-trade union activities.

The company, which rejects the allegations, flew its director of communications in Latin America, Rafael Fernandez Quiros, to meet Irish employees and trade-union representatives. Mr Quiros said claims about the company had become "urban legends".

The university's ban affects a wide range of products including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Lilt, Deep RiverRock, Vittel, Fruice, Schweppes and Oasis.

Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, which employs about 1,000 staff, has warned that the ban could lead to job losses. Ireland's biggest trade union, SIPTU, has supported the company.

A union spokesperson said that the SIPTU was not a "mouthpiece" for the company, but it felt the campaign was ill-conceived. A boycott of Coca-Cola products was "not the appropriate way to further any cause", a spokesman said.

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