Brazil: Coca Cola must reinstate the dismissed workers

Labor Justice dismissed the appeal of Sorocaba Refreshments on 13 May 2015 and the company now must reinstate the 200 workers dismissed earlier this year.

On 23 February 2015, 217 workers of Sorocaba Refrescos SA, which produces, markets and distributes Coca Cola Company products, received a notice from the company about their dismissal justified by the need to restructure the distribution services.

José Airton Oliveira, the president of the Union of Food Workers of Sorocaba and Region, explained to the IUF the history of the conflict between the union and the transnational company. "What the company intends to achieve through layoffs is to outsource the service by taking advantage of the Brazilian labor legislation" he said.

On March 13 the workers achieved a great victory in the labor courts. The Regional Labor Court (TRT) then decided, firstly, that Coca Cola should reinstate all dismissed workers based on the jurisprudence of the Superior Labor Court (TST), highest authority in labor law, which stated that compulsory layoffs can be made only after negotiations with the Union.

"The company appealed this ruling and the case went to TRT of Campinas, where a reconciliation was not achieved due to the intransigent stance of Sorocaba Refreshments, so in this instance the labor court also ruled in favor of workers "Oliveira said.

The appeal filed by the company was rejected on May 13 by the Regional Labor Court of the 15th Region in Campinas. "The judges' decision was unanimous, ten out of ten votes in favor of the workers.While the company may re-appeal, we are confident that they will reconsider the reinstatements and work on an agreed solution. The reinstatement of the workers involves paying salaries retroactive to February, "Oliveira said.

Interview of IUF Latin America region with José Airton Oliveira and original Spanish news is here.