It was a tough 2014 for Coca-Cola

It was a tough 2014 for Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Co last week finally put a number to the amount of jobs it will shed as part of a fresh round of cost-cutting designed to save US$3bn over the next four years.

Some 1,600 to 1,800 staff are to be axed in the coming months, and more are likely to follow as Coca-Cola attempts to stem revenue leakage and investor ire.

What's striking about these cuts is that they appear to be across the board, with two of Coca-Cola's top target markets even finding themselves in the line of fire.

The company has pledged to invest US$5bn in India by 2020, however its India unit today acknowledged to just-drinks that the latest round of “streamlining” will hit global operations “including in India”. This is in addition to “steps that we have already taken over the last 18 to 24 months” to cut costs and drive growth, a spokesperson said.

China, too, will lose staff, according to the China Daily, despite Coca-Cola having earmarked $8bn for investment in the country in 2012.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson today told just-drinks that investment plans for India and China remain unchanged. The spokesperson also confirmed that last week's job cuts would affect global staff, but said the company is not providing a breakdown of which markets will be affected.

What is clear is that no one is safe from the Coca-Cola cull. 

In the company's most recent results, India outperformed most other markets, posting double-digit volume growth as well as recording value and volume share gains. China also increased volume and value share in a competitive market, but the reward for all the hard work is a shrinking head count.

Last year was a tough year for Coca-Cola employees, as global volumes shrank and all the good news seemed to be happening to rival PepsiCo.

This year now looks set to be even more uncertain for staff, who, even if they dodge this first phase of cuts, must worry about being caught up in any future rounds - irrespective of where they are in the world.