US: Court dismisses Coke Colombian violence case
The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida has dismissed a lawsuit against the two Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia that claimed the businesses conspired with paramilitary groups to use violence to control workers.
The lawsuits were filed in 2001 by the Colombian union Sinaltrainal and several workers. They accused Coca-Cola Co. and its bottling affiliates in Colombia of partnering with right-wing paramilitary groups to use violence in an effort to rid the plants of union activity.
The Court dismissed The Coca-Cola Company from the lawsuit in 2003. In this new decision, the court also denied plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaints to bring The Coca-Cola Company back into the lawsuit and directed the clerk to close the cases.
"The Coca-Cola Company is gratified by Judge Martinez' decision to dismiss the cases. We reaffirm our belief that the claims in the suit filed against The Coca-Cola Company and two bottlers in Colombia are inaccurate and based on distorted versions of events," Coca-COla Company said in a statement.
"We hope this decision will now enable us to put this case behind us as we continue to focus on working constructively to ensure the rights and safety of Coca-Cola workers in Colombia and worldwide. We are open to discussions with everyone who shares a commitment to finding constructive solutions to workplace issues in areas of conflict around the world."
The soft drinks group said that regardless of this development, it would continue to support the ILO's independent and impartial investigation and evaluation of labour relations and workers' rights practices of Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia.
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