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Spain forces Coke to rehire wronged workers

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Spain forces Coke to rehire wronged workers
The 821 laid off workers will also be remunerated with all the salaries they missed out since the plant closures last April.Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP
16:06 CEST+02:00
Coca-Cola will have to reemploy and reimburse the 821 workers it sacked in April when it closed four of its bottling plants in Spain now that a judge has ruled the drinks multinational carried out the lay-offs unlawfully.

The sudden lay-off of 1,190 (finally 821) Coca-Cola employees from its bottling plants in Madrid, Mallorca, Alicante and Asturias were, according to holding company Iberian Partners, needed to improve efficiency.

But Spain’s High Court ruled on Friday that the fizzy drinks giants had not carried out the merging of all of their eight bottling plants in Spain appropriately.

They also blamed them for not informing unions representing the workers of their imminent lay-offs and the restructuring of the plants.

According to the sentence, all 821 laid-off employees will now have to be hired again by Coca-Cola and remunerated with all the salaries they missed out since the plant closures last April.

The main problem they face now is that the bottling plants have been closed down for several months, Spanish daily El País reported.

Numerous demonstrations were held outside the plants in the lead up to the verdict by Spain’s High Court on Friday.

In February, around 2,000 protesters marched to central Madrid from the closed down plant in Fuenlabrada during a five-hour protest.

They waved signs reading: "Boycott, they are destroying jobs" and "No to the lay-offs".

"The plants are profitable but they are throwing us into the street," said Francisco, 51, who had worked at Coca-Cola for 17 years.

"It is a modern plant but they are shutting it just so they can make more profits" he added. "The 'happiness' of Coca-Cola is a sham."

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