Thousands protest at axing of Coca-Cola bottling plants in Spain

AFP , Saturday 15 Feb 2014

Thousands took to the streets in Madrid Saturday in protest at the closure of four bottling plants of US soft-drink giant Coca-Cola that would affect 1,250 workers.

Demonstrators, some coming from other Spanish cities, carried banners condemning the layoffs and calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, the multinational's only bottling company in Spain, said at the end of January the closures were needed to improve efficiency.

But workers argue the layoffs are unjustified since the company is making a profit.

Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, which currently has 4,000 employees on its books, was founded last year by merging the seven bottling companies in Spain owned by the US brand.

Under the restructuring plan, four of the 11 plants in Spain -- Fuenlabrada near Madrid, Palma, Oviedo and Alicante -- will close.

Of the affected 1,250 jobs, 750 will be axed and 500 relocated to other plants.

Management and trade unions have until Friday to come up with an agreement, but talks stalled after union representatives demanded the whole plan be scrapped, which the company rejects.

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