Spain: Coca-Cola workers facing plant closures and jobs massacre go on strike

Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, a company created from the integration of seven Coca-Cola bottling companies in Spain announced to shut down four of its 11 plants. The bottling plants in the Balearic Islands, Southeastern Alicante, and Northwestern Asturias region and near Madrid will be closed affecting more than 1,200 workers. In the initial reorganization plan presented by the company, almost 750 workers would be dismissed in different ways - some through pre-retirement schemes and more than 500 through a compulsory lay off. 500 employees are likely to be transferred to other plants.

The redundancy consultation period with the IUF affiliated unions FITAG UGT and CC.OO runs for 30 days, until February 21.

The workers union in the bottling factory in Alicante has approved support of the national protest by Coca Cola workers. The strike is due to begin on February 3 and continue indefinitely.

Workers at Fuenlabrada have announced strikes to coincide with the beginning of the Expediente de Regulación de Empleo (ERE, notice of intention to make redundancies) consultation - in which the business and the workers' representatives attempt to reach an agreement. From the 3rd of February the workers have called a series of strikes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These stoppages will be partial - two hours per shift - for the first two weeks, becoming a complete stoppage from the third week. It is expected that workers from the other three plants will join actions.

Although Coca-Cola Iberian Partners is financially healthy with the level of profit - €900 million - and its €3 billion turnover, the company wants to "consolidate" its operations by "centralizing production" through implementing compulsory redundancies and making incessant requests for enhanced flexibility. This attitude clearly reveals that Coca-Cola's industrial strategy will entail unprecedented attacks on jobs and workers' rights, not only in Spain, but in several European countries.

The IUF strongly urges Coca-Cola Iberian Partners to minimize the effects of the restructuring plan and pay due respect to the rights and dignity of more than 1,200 workers.

The IUF together with its members organized at Coca-Cola operations around the world stand together with Spanish workers in their fights to protect their jobs and rights and we will provide whatever support we can to assist.
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