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GERMANY: Coke dismisses union job fears

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Coca-Cola Co. has dismissed claims from trade unions in Germany that it plans to axe up to 3,000 from a total of 9,000 employees from the country's largest Coke bottler, CCE AG.

In May, the German government plans to change the regulations surrounding the deposit system on soft drinks, moves that are likely to lead to falling sales of refillable bottles.

The production of refillable bottles is more labour-intensive and as such, unions argue, jobs are under threat.

Herman Badendick, a trade union official at CCE said the "worst case scenario" would be the loss of 3,000 jobs.

However, a spokesman for Coca-Cola in Brussels refused to rule out the prospect of job losses in Germany but dismissed union claims as "speculation".

"It is much too early to say how many people will be impacted by the mandatory deposit system. Negotiations are ongoing and we are trying to secure as many jobs as possible," he told just-drinks today (2 March)

The spokesperson insisted the union's claim centred on the changes to Germany's deposit system and had nothing to do with Coke's plans to create a single bottler in the country.

Eight bottlers hold the licence to bottle Coke products in Germany but all have signed "a letter of understanding" with the US soft drinks giant to form a single entity.

The spokesman said negotiations on the integration were "ongoing".


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