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GERMANY: Coca-Cola Co braces for more strikes

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Coca-Cola Co staff protesting against proposed job cuts continued strikes at German plants yesterday (22 January), with more stoppages planned for the rest of the week.

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A “handful” of plants have been affected by the action so far. However, unions have pledged protests at 50 of Coca-Cola's 60 German facilities throughout the week, a Coca-Cola spokesperson told just-drinks.

The strikes come ahead of planned negations next Wednesday that will discuss the job losses as well as more flexible working hours.

Up to 450 jobs in finance and regional sales are at risk in a “restructuring” scheme, the spokesperson said.

Coca-Cola defended its position, saying flexible working hours are needed to compete in the beverage industry, while the job cuts are a result of moving regional departments to Berlin. The company said it is also offering staff a 2.5% pay rise for this year and a further 2% increase next year.

Coca-Cola plants staged protests on Monday involving up to 600 workers, employee union NGG said. NGG has rejected the flexible hours proposals and is seeking a 6% pay rise.

Coca-Cola Deutschland said the protests are “warning strikes” and are normal practise during negotiations in Germany.

“We believe we have made a strong and comprehensive offer that will help drive further growth for the business in Germany,” the company said in a statement.

In November, Coca-Cola Enterprises workers staged industrial action across France in protest at a redundancy programme.


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