Union: We Want Answers Over AstraZeneca PLC Jobs Losses

Published: Mar 20, 2013

Union chiefs were today due to confront AstraZeneca bosses after the drugs giant dropped a jobs bombshell on the region. The M.E.N. reported yesterday how the firm was closing its historic research centre at Alderley Park in Cheshire. Just 700 of the 2,900 staff currently working at the site are set to remain there after 2016. Around 550 workers are facing redundancy while more than 1,600 highly-skilled scientists and research staff will be asked to relocate more than 150 miles to a new £330m base in Cambridge. Trade union leaders were already due to meet the company’s UK management today for an annual wage and conditions review. The M.E.N. understands they will now use the meeting to demand answers about the restructure. And union bosses refused to rule out strike action if their concerns are not met. Gary Owen, regional officer for the north west at Unite said: “We are a long way away from actions like that, but then again, I wouldn’t rule it out. It’s certainly in the back pocket, but it’s also in the long grass. “We have to try to move forward sensibly and see what we can do through dialogue and proper consultation. “We would only go to our members if we felt we were being rail-roaded.” Mr Owen admitted he had ‘serious concerns’ about the impact of the closure. He said: “Personally, I have doubts whether they will be able to retain the services of the 1,600 people who they want to relocate. “You may get just a few hundred wanting to move and that would leave hundreds of highly skilled people looking for similar roles in the north west. They are not the sort of jobs you would advertise in the job centre. They are not easy to come by.”

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