IUF affiliates in Spain Headed for Legal Clash against Coca-Cola's restructuring plan

IUF affiliated unions CC.OO and FITAG-UGT in Spain are heading to court over the restructuring plan of Coca-Cola Iberian Partners to shut down 4 of 11 plants and cut or relocate about 30% of its workforce.

The Spanish government's 2012 labour reform made it easier for companies to hire and fire workers. According to the new law, companies can still impose their plans within 15 days in case of no agreement reached with unions on critical issues such as restructuring.

Iberian Partners states that the company will decide within the legally established deadline of two weeks, in what form the redundancy plan will be applied.

Unions ahead of February 21 deadline rejected the offer since it would not save the plants, where workers have been on strike all month and are preparing to bring legal action when the company pushes on with the plan.

IUF members rightly question the justification of plant closures and dismissals as in 2013, the turnover of the company was 3,000 million euros and recorded profits were 900 million: a return by the efforts of the people working in the company, which no other industrial company has succeeded in Spain and across Europe.

A double recession over the past five years has pushed Spain's unemployment rate up to 26 percent. More layoffs in a country with already 6 million unemployed are not acceptable.

CCOO and UGT united in action and organized a protest action in central Madrid where 7000 people marched despite the cold and rain on February 15. The unions criticized both the company and the government and emphasized that more casualization and unemployment will further create obstacles for Spain to get out of the crisis. Both union leaders encouraged workers of Coca Cola Iberian Partners to stand firm in the fight for their jobs.

Unions have political allies in areas affected by the proposed plant closings. The regional government of Asturias, where a bottling plant would be shut under the restructuring, said that it would no longer accept Coca-Cola's sponsorships of sporting events. In the Madrid region, where a plant in suburban Fuenlabrada is slated to be closed, unions have called for a boycott, making signs reading: "If Madrid doesn't produce, Madrid doesn't consume."

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