January 2, 2018 / 5:41 PM / 3 months ago

Teva Pharm agrees with workers on closing Jerusalem tablet plant

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with workers on closing its tablet factory in Jerusalem by the end of 2019, ending weeks of labour unrest at the facility.

Workers of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries stand at the entrance to their facility in Ashdod, Israel December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The plant was slated to be shut as part of a global restructuring in which the world’s largest generic drugmaker will cut more than a quarter of its workforce, or 14,000 jobs.

Since the cost-cutting plan was announced last month, workers from the tablet plant, which employs 500 people, and an adjacent inhaler plant about half the size have been protesting and disrupting operations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped in, asking the Israeli-based company not to close the site - a request Teva rejected.

“The parties reached full agreement on how to close the tablet factory in Jerusalem at the end of 2019, with the immediate end of the labor dispute in the tablet factory and an orderly return to work,” the company said in a statement.

The first wave of layoffs is set for the first quarter of 2018, according to the agreement, with the majority of terminations being postponed until the end of 2019.

Negotiations regarding the fate of the inhaler plant next door are continuing, said a company spokesman.

Under a two-year plan, Teva aims to reduce costs by $3 billion by the end of 2019, from about $16.1 billion in 2017.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Potter

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