Actavis to Slash 200 Workers as Part of Teva's Consolidation Efforts

Actavis to Slash 200 Workers as Part of Teva's Consolidation Efforts November 29, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

As a result of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries acquisition of Dublin-based Allergan ’s generics business, Actavis Generics, Actavis has announced it will lay off 200 workers by the end of 2017. The layoffs appear to all be in Malta, which is creating some political pushback in a country that reported a 2013 population of 423,282. Chris Cardona, Malta’s Economy Minister, indicated that a task force was being formed that would assist the laid-off workers in finding alternate employment, although he shied away from offering government jobs. “Other pharmaceutical companies like Aurobindo have already expressed their willingness to take some of the workers on board,” he said.

Evarist Bartolo, Malta’s Education Minister, also expressed disappointment at Teva, saying, “This is not the right way to treat workers, especially a few weeks before Christmas. The fact that we are pro-business does not mean that we would take such things lightly.”

Actavis employs 450 people at two Malta plants, in Bulebel and Hal Far. The layoffs will affect 50 operators, 50 lab analysts, and staffers in the IT and human resources department. The biggest hits will be at the Hal Far facility. About 170 total will be affected at Hal Far, which is expected to close by the first quarter of 2018.

“The acquisition of Actavis Generics comes at a time when Teva is stronger than ever—in both our generics and specialty businesses,” Erez Vigodman, president and chief executive officer of Teva, announced in a statement. “Through our acquisition of Actavis Generics, we are creating a new Teva with a strong foundation, significantly enhanced financial profile and more diversified revenue sources and profit streams backed by strong product development engines in both generics and specialty. This is a platform that is expected to generate multi-year top-line and bottom-line growth as well as significant cash flow.”

The country’s General Workers’ Union has also denounced the layoffs, saying that Actavis and Teva did not consult it about its plans, but only found out about it when workers were told the Arrow Pharm section was being closed. It also indicated it was meeting with the government to assist the affected workers in finding employment.

Teva has indicated that the redundancies affect both union and non-union positions because it plans to close down the Hal Far plant in the beginning of 2018. “The proposal to exit this site from the global network is informed by a comprehensive review designed to optimize network efficiency, eliminate excess capacity to reduce costs, and better align production with market demand.”

Otherwise, Teva indicates that all its activities in Malta, including its Bulebel manufacturing site, will continue in the country.

The country’s Alternattiva Demokratika took the opportunity to decry Teva, Actavis, the European Union and capitalist activities as a result of the layoffs. Its spokesperson, Ralph Cassar, said, “The layoffs by Actavis’s new owners Teva is proof of the damaging effects of a globalization based on greed. It is yet another example which shows the urgent need for EU governments, the EU Parliament and national parliaments to come together and collectively regulate the runaway neoliberal system in which huge short term profits and shareholder value come before social responsibility and the just distribution of wealth.”

He then went on to accuse Teva of playing “a game of Russian roulette on the stock markets at the expense of the livelihood of workers.”

Teva indicated in a statement that, “We are committed to being a responsible employer and will make decisions in accordance with all local laws and consultation processes. We will work with those impacted to make this challenging period of transition as smooth as possible. Outplacement services and severance benefits will be offered to all employees.”

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