An industrial dispute at Coca-Cola FEMSA's Venezuelan operations has hit an impasse.

The soft drinks unit of Mexico-based Fomento Economico Mexicano had seen its operations in Venezuela suffer a blockade during the first half of this month. Former distributors and drivers with Hit, the company which previously held the Coca-Cola franchise in the country, set up camp outside 12 Femsa distribution centres and a bottling plant in the country on 5 February.

The protest, which has seen the former workers demand payment of US$520m from Femsa, has hit supplies from Femsa's facilities to some partsof Venezuela.

But the company said late last week that a truce has been made with the protestors. "The only way to solve this problem is through dialogue," Femsa's chief in Venezuela, Rodrigo Anzola, told local reporters. The truce, which has been secured in association with the country's National Assembly, will establish a joint technical committee to collate details over the claim that Femsa has a debt to the former workers at Hit.

Anzola told local press that he did not believe the claims had any legal merit, but understood that the country's authorities were looking "to see the problem from a social point of view".

Anzla also accused some members of the National Assembly of "having manipulated, deceived and filled the (demonstrators) with false expectations, in this case with non-existent economic possibilities".