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Coca-Cola in Brandon to outsource 150 jobs

Coca-Cola plans to shrink its work force at its massive accounting center in Brandon by 15 percent, outsourcing 150 white-collar jobs to Guatemala, India and Poland.

With the goal of trimming millions of dollars in costs, the bottling company announced plans Thursday to hire multinational outplacement firm Capgemini.

When the Brandon Shared Services Center opened in 2002, it was heralded as the latest in corporate streamlining. Florida and Hillsborough County were so thrilled with the deal that they promised $3,000 in tax rebates for every job created, up to $2.3-million.

Coke spokesman Norman Ross said the layoffs will affect neither the bottling operations in Tampa and St. Petersburg nor a 400-employee call center in Temple Terrace.

"There's a strong commitment to the Tampa area," Ross said. "Brandon will remain a global financial services hub. We're optimizing business and gaining efficiency."

Coca-Cola managers broke the news Thursday to all three shifts at the Brandon office complex. The layoffs will begin at the end of the year and continue through June 2009, Ross said. Wages average about $40,000 for the center's 1,000 employees.

Other cities fared worse than Tampa. The company plans to shut down a shared services center in Dallas and downsize another in Toronto at the cost of 190 jobs.

Officials at Coke and the county said the layoffs appear not to violate the incentives deal that has delivered about $1.7-million to Coke so far. Even after subtracting the 150 jobs, Coke has hired the required 770 employees needed to collect the money.

"We have fulfilled our agreement," Ross said.

Coca-Cola in Brandon to outsource 150 jobs 07/10/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 12, 2008 7:44pm]
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