By Lyn Parry

French authorities have dismissed applications by Unions representing workers from the Cognac house Martell that contested the validity of restructuring plans, which propose laying off 149 people over the next two years.

The ruling also signalled the end of a 16-day hunger strikes by three workers in protest at the job losses.

The unions involved had made an application claiming the job losses to be unreasonable.

"Of course Martell could make more money than it does at the moment, but it should not be allowed to do so at any price," said Gerard Faure, one of the Martell workers said at the time of his hunger strike. "Who can be indifferent to the plight of workers with no other skills and no prospect of finding work in an area with 13% unemployment? They must find savings in other ways."

However, Martell have remained firm throughout the conflict, unwilling to discuss the matter further. Lionel Breton, of Martell stated: "The authorities have reviewed and approved the plan, and it will go ahead as planned."