Chariman of Histadrut Federation of Labor, Ofer Eini,
and CEO of Teva, Jeremy Levin,
conferred for long hours Tuesday regarding Teva's plan to fire some 10% of its workers due to an effort to make the company "more efficient"; Layoffs will include some 800 Israeli workers.
Levin and Eini announced at the end of the meeting that firing in Israel
would happen, but with consent from the Histadrut; "There'll be a fair negotiation", Eini said.
CEO Levin arrived in Tel Aviv
in the midst of public outrage regarding the layoffs. In the press conference with Eini he said, "The talks were good. We are committed to working with Eini…. We'll be fair with those who leave."
Levin and Eini (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Levin denied the existence of exact numbers, saying it's untrue that Teva will fire 5,000 workers and that company is "rearranging", which is "a lengthy process."
Press conference (Photo: Yaron Brener)
When asked about the tax benefits Teva receives, Levin said the tax cuts the company receives have nothing to do with how the company deals with its workers.
Eini said that workers will be strengthened by Histadrut and that Teva will negotiate with Histadrut to minimize the number of workers who are forced to leave: "Some will retire," he said, "It's a part of the process. I think there is a high chance we'll come to agreements."
Eini earlier said he spoke with Finance Minister Yair Lapid
and that the two "see eye to eye" and will work together to try and cancel the upcoming layoffs. Eini said he hopes that the layoffs will not create a further economic crisis.
Various officials in Israel have called out to Levin in hopes to prevent the layoffs. Beersheba
mayor, Rubik Danilovitz, wrote a letter to Levin, exclaiming: "I turn to you personally… to not fire workers in the Negev. This decision will injure many young individuals who made their home here and are actively living the vision of David Ben-Gurion." MKs Gila Gamliel and Nissan Slomiansky also expressed outrage regarding Teva's decision, calling Levin and asking for meetings with him.
Leader of the Opposition and Labor
Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich
said Teva must cancel the layoffs and take cutbacks to CEO salaries; "They make billions and pay zero tax to the State," Yachimovich said, "They can't kick 800 of its workers. We'll be watching Teva closely." Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
she said: "These layoffs are mass terror. Don't let it happen."
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett
defended Teva. "We're not an enemy of big businesses," he said, "This outrage will cause us huge damage. I know it's not popular, but I want to defend Teva and explain why it's good for the State of Israel to give tax benefits to foreign companies that come here."
"We need big businesses," he added, "They generate work places and innovation. If we attack them and there is an atmosphere against big businesses, the State of Israel will lose."
Levin said all aspects of making the company more efficient are being examined, including cutting management salary and continuing in investing money from public funding.
In a joint press conference with Eini, he said: "In Teva we decided on becoming more efficient, and we will do it because the future of Teva is important to us, and we'll do it gently, and with agreement, so everyone here in Israel knows that we are trying to make the company better. Part of how we work has to do with how we work with (Histadrut). We will make every effort to lessen the impact made on workers leaving the company. We will deal with their needs and their families. And I want to say one more thing: The heart of Teva is in Israel, and Israel is in Teva's heart. I don't know how to translate that, but you have to believe it."
Billie Frenkel and Roi Mandel contributed to this article
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