The Teva Assia plant in Petah Tikvah, where the research and development of drugs for the Israeli pharmaceutical giant is concentrated, is set to be shut down following the company's massive wave of layoffs, with the majority of the factory's workers losing their job, the plant's workers said Wednesday.
Chairperson of the factory's labor union Hania Gilboa said they were expecting to meet with management Wednesday to discuss the matter and will "fight with all their might to rescind the decision" to shut down the plant and lay off about 150 workers.
The factory's labor union and the National Labor Federation (NLF) said that "the company's management informed the employees of the cut-backs Tuesday night," adding that the factory's staff together with the NLF are "considering possible ways" of battling it.
Following the announcement, Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg Ikar is planning a job fair in cooperation with companies and businesses from all over the country in order to assist the plant's workers. The fair will take place on January 24 at Netanya Stadium.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries plans to reduce its workforce by 25 percent and suspend its dividend on ordinary shares in a much-anticipated overhaul to help pay back its massive debt.
Israel-based Teva, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, said on Thursday these measures will result in the reduction of 14,000 positions globally, with the majority of the cuts expected in 2018.
Teva has roughly 7,000 Israeli employees, making it one of the country's largest private sector employers. Israel’s Histadrut Labor Federation said at least 1,750 employees will be laid off in Israel, with 1,250 laid off by the end of 2018 and an additional 500 laid off from factories Teva intends to sell. The employees affected by the cutbacks are expected to receive notice within 90 days.
In addition, by the end of 2019, with the closure of the production plants in Jerusalem, about 500 additional workers will be laid off.
After the announcement of the mass redundancy plan, Teva workers demonstrated throughout the country. Meanwhile, the Histadrut—Israel's national trade union centre—staged a half day general strike as a sign of solidarity with the company's workers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to convince Teva CEO Kåre Schultz to reduce the number of Israeli layoffs.
Schultz informed the prime minister that he did not intend to revise the planned number of redundancies that is expected to reach 1,700 workers from the financially straitened company, and that the plan to shut down its factories would proceed.
With Schultz’s stated determination not to budge, the government will no longer consider providing grants to Teva and is expected to seek other alternatives for the workers.