Workers protest closure of PepsiCo company, Florida, Vicente López, Buenos Aires Province. (Alfredo Martínez)

Last Wednesday, 691 employees from a PepsiCo plant in Vicente López, Buenos Aires Province, arrived at work to find a sign papered on the front door. It was their only notice of the multinational company’s decision to relocate operations to Mar del Plata, a five-hour drive south of Vicente López. 155 workers will reintegrate into other plants in the province. The rest are out of work. At 6:30am this morning, dismissed employees blocked the plant’s entrance to demand reinstatement. “We are going to occupy the plant,” said Luis Medina, a delegate of the employees. “All we want is to keep working.”

In a statement released to Infobae, PepsiCo cited “obstacles inherent to the location of the plant in a mostly residential area, its complex structure of costs, and extensive logistical requirements.” But workers do not buy this claim. “It is not an economic problem,” said Camilo Mones, another delegate. “The plant produces very well. It is purely a political problem.” Employees believe that the corporation profits at the expense of their livelihoods. Mones explained to Ernesto Tenembaum on FM Radio Con Vos that the company will throw them out to place new employees in poor working conditions. PepsiCo denies this. “The change will allow the company to move forward in its transformation process, adapting itself to the requirements of consumers,” said a company representative.

Workers will receive 200% compensation and nine months of social services. After that, their allocated well of resources runs dry. “In a few months, we’ll grow hungry,” said Medina to reporters. “The money will escape us like sand through our fingers. What we want is to keep bringing dignity to our families.” Workers have scheduled a hearing with Ministry of Labor for the coming days. The Minister will deliver a verdict on the possibility of reinstatement. Until then, the gendarmerie surrounds protestors in Vicente López, preventing them from spilling onto the Pan-American highway that cuts through the municipality.