Spain court orders Coca-Cola to reinstate sacked staff
A Spanish court on Friday ordered the US drinks giant Coca-Cola to reinstate more than 800 workers it laid off as it closed down four bottling plants.
The planned closure of the Spanish plants sparked months of strikes by workers who say the company has no right to cut jobs when it is making a profit.
Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, the subsidiary of the US company that bottles drinks in Spain, had planned 1,190 layoffs of which 821 were carried out.
The National Court in Madrid on Friday said in a statement it had "declared void" that plan.
It said the company had not adequately informed or negotiated with workers about the restructuring and had undermined their right to strike by hiring outside workers.
It ordered the company to reinstate the 821 and pay them their outstanding salaries.
The company responded that Coca-Cola Iberian Partners would appeal against the ruling and the workers would not be reinstated until the appeal has run its course.
It rejected the court's ruling, insisting in a statement that "the bottling company handed the workers' representatives all the necessary documentation to explain the plan."
Spain's leading labour union UGT hailed the ruling against the "unjustifiable" layoffs.
"We demand that Coca-Cola take on board the National Court's ruling and solve the business problems by opening negotiations with the unions that will not see jobs affected," it said in a statement.
Spain emerged last year from its second recession in five years but the unemployment rate remains extremely high at close to 26 percent.