Teva workers protest layoffs as solidarity strike grinds country to halt

Teva workers protest layoffs as solidarity strike grinds country to halt

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest producer of generic drugs, has said its reductions would be across-the-board and in all its locations.

They briefly blocked a main road in Jerusalem before heading to the Teva factory, which has been occupied in protest.

Banks, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, post offices, government offices, the Knesset, ports, airports, insurance companies, the stock exchange, the courts, banks, post offices, phone companies, Israel Electric Company, health services, universities, local municipalities and regional councils were all closed on Sunday morning, along with Teva facilities across the country. This has angered unions and politicians, who believe Teva's employees should not pay for the company's failed investments overseas.

The protests were held in parallel to a four-hour solidarity strike - the largest labor action to hit the country in several years - shutting down almost all parts of the public sector from 8 midday.

The move spelled havoc for Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Sunday morning, where 66 flights were re-scheduled to accommodate the strike while three others were canceled, the Israel Airport Authority announced.

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. Demonstrators blocked traffic at the entrance to Jerusalem outside the prime minister's office as the Cabinet was convening, and at the entrance to the Teva plant.

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"We will execute this plan in a timely and prudent manner, remaining focused on revenue and cash flow generation, in order to make sure Teva is ready to meet all of its financial commitments", said Schultz in the letter. "Organized labor has been enlisted and is sending a clear message".

The generic drugs powerhouse is now carrying a $34.7 billion debt-a result of a $40.5 acquisition of Actavis.

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

"Teva has received NIS 22 billion from the state and now is spitting it back in its face and will continue to enjoy the same tax benefits because of the layoffs in the coming years", remarked Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn regarding his decision for a massive "solidarity" strike.

Teva expects to save $3 billion by the end of 2019 with the two-year restructuring plan.

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