Airport, ministries, companies reopen after Teva 'solidarity' strike

CTech's Daily Israeli Tech News Roundup

The cuts would amount to more than a quarter of the Israeli drugmaker's global workforce of over 55,000, of which fewer than 7,000 work in Israel.

Israel's labor union launched a four-hour nationwide strike Sunday in a show of protest against large-scale layoffs planned by pharmaceutical giant Teva.

Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest generic drugmaker, announced last Thursday that it was cutting 14,000 jobs worldwide.

The Histadrut labour federation said hundreds of Teva workers in its Jerusalem plant were squatting inside and would continue a strike again on Monday, while there will also be strikes at other Teva facilities.

Banks, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, post offices, government offices, the Knesset, ports, airports, insurance companies, the courts, banks, post offices, phone companies, Israel Electric Corporation, health services, universities, local municipalities and regional councils were all closed on Sunday morning, along with Teva facilities across the country.

The organization has also called on workers to strike between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and will hold various meetings around the country.

In Jerusalem, Teva workers staged demonstrations outside a company plant, at the entrance to the city and outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office as he was convening his Cabinet for its weekly meeting.

They briefly blocked a main road in Jerusalem before heading to the Teva factory, which has been occupied in protest. "Today we are launching a comprehensive restructuring plan, crucial to restoring our financial security and stabilizing our business", Teva CEO Kare Schultz said in a statement. "Closing Teva is an attack against the state of Israel", read one poster.

Schultz sent Netanyahu a letter last week apologizing for the layoffs but said the company had no choice.

"It started as an Israeli company and we want it to remain as an Israeli company", Netanyahu said.

Teva has been saddled with debt after its US$40 billion (RM163.2 billion) acquisition of the generics arm of rival Allergan a year ago.

Nissenkorn, who has met with Teva management, has said that 1,250 employees in Israel will be sacked in 2018 and 500 the following year.

The acquisition has been accompanied by low prices for generics, particularly in the United States, a major market.

The company has received an estimated NIS 22 billion in tax breaks and subsidies over the past decade, and it seems unlikely that the government asked for any commitment in return.

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