Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines has been cleared of unfairly sacking 14 union officers.

A ruling by the Philippines' high court this week has ruled in favour of the bottler, who dismissed the workers in 1999 for launching an illegal strike at its Sta. Rosa plant in the country.

"It is clear in this case that petitioners totally ignored the statutory requirements and embarked on their illegal strike," the high court said.

The strike, which was held in 1999, was found to have been illegal as the workers had not informed the relevant authorities about their intention to down tools.

The action resulted in the company having only one of its plant's three bottling lines in operation that day, leading to a loss of around PHP2.7m (US$55,227).

While the dismissal of the union officers was upheld, the court emphasised that union members could only be dismissed if they had committed illegal acts while striking.

Earlier this month, The Coca-Cola Co. took full control of the bottler by buying out its venture partner San Miguel Corp. Coke will pay the Philippines conglomerate US$590m over five years for its 65% shareholding in CCBPI.