Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of generic medicines, plans to fire as much as 25% of its Israeli workforce, according to the daily business newspaper Globes. The new streamlining plan will involve the company shedding an additional 20% of its workforce worldwide with most dismissals expected in the US and Europe. Before all the layoffs, Teva had 60,000 employees worldwide of which 15,000 came with the acquisition of Activis ‒ an acquisition that provides plenty of scope for layoffs as part of integrating the companies.
When Teva announced in August that it would lay off 350 Israeli workers, the Histadrut responded with labor disputes and negotiated the final number down to 230. Earlier this month, Kare Schultz, the Israeli drug maker’s new CEO, pledged to investors that he would “improve financial performance, and re-position Teva operationally and financially.”
According to Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List), “Teva is teaching Israeli society a lesson in greed capitalism. How can a company receive NIS 20 billion in tax breaks from the State and in exchange fire hundreds of its workers? A crisis of this scale demands that the employees wage a struggle against unilateral and coercive actions.”
This time the move is planned for the company’s offices only, and at this stage, there is no involvement of the Histadrut in the process. In response to the news, the Histradut labor federation said it would fight the downsizing and seek to protect workers’ rights. “The Histadrut will not by any means accept unilateral steps by Teva’s management in Israel,” Histradut spokesman Yaniv Levy said in a statement. “A step of streamlining, if and when it comes up, will be done only through dialogue and agreement with the Histadrut and the workers’ committees. Teva employees are the company’s human capital and its most important resource.”