A South Korean appeal court says the layoffs of 153 employees at Ssangyong Motor in 2009 were unjustified in a belated victory for auto workers who fought pitched battles with riot police at the time.

The 153 were among 2,600 workers that Ssangyong tried to shed in 2009, sparking South Korea's worst labor strife in years.

The luxury automaker was hit by the 2008 financial crisis and slumping sales.

The court said the layoffs could not be justified because the company did not go to sufficient lengths to save jobs.

It also said the company overstated its losses.

Ssangyong Motor said it will appeal to the Supreme Court and denied its losses were overstated.