There will be no formal campaign to push for Yes votes in this week’s referendum to overturn the Students’ Union’s Coca-Cola boycott.
While a group has been set up to campaign for the overturning of the boycott on popular social networking site Facebook, no official campaign agent has yet to declare themselves.
The formal agent for the No side, SU class rep Aideen Carberry, feels that there is a lack of information around the issue and is to begin distributing flyers informing students of why the boycott initially took place in 2003, adding that she felt the referendum should not take place while these issues are still relevant.
The main focus of the boycott surrounds the murders of nine Coca-Cola workers in Colombia in 2003. The workers’ trade union SINALTRAINAL accused Coca-Cola’s Colombian bottling factory of being involved in the assassination of union leaders.
The case relating to the murders was thrown out by a court in Miami, and the allegations made against Coca-Cola have never been proven. Coca-Cola has insisted that it was not responsible for these murders,stating in 2004 that “the allegations made against us in Colombia are not merely false, they are repugnant to all of us at The Coca-Cola Company.”
The increased awareness of the realities of Coca-Cola’s international practices was the basis for boycotts in many universities worldwide, of which UCDSU’s was the first. However, many students have not been informed of the reasons behind the boycott and according to a recent survey conducted by The University Observer, a number of students are not even aware the boycott exists, as Coca-Cola products are available elsewhere on campus.
The referendum, which was approved by Union Council after a proposal by SU Presdent Gary Redmond, is being put to a ballot on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th March. The referendum takes place in conjunction with the SU sabbatical elections and proposes to rescind the 2003 decision boycotting all Coca-Cola products in SU outlets.