Histadrut calls strike over Teva cuts

Histadrut to hold nationwide strike on Sunday following reports that troubled drug giant will cut thousands of jobs.

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Teva offices
Teva offices
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The Histadrut trade union has called a nationwide strike for Sunday following reports that troubled drug giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will cut thousands of jobs.

Histadrut chair Avi Nissenkorn said the strike against the "shameful" cuts would last for several hours.

It would affect the entire public sector, as well as banks, the stock market, air and road traffic services and all of Teva's facilities, said Nissenkorn.

His announcement came amid reports that Teva, the world's biggest manufacturer of generic drugs, is to announce a cost-cutting program on Thursday that will include thousands of layoffs.

The Calcalist business newspaper said Teva intended to "cut over 4,000 jobs, mainly in the U.S. and Israel" as it was saddled with almost $35 billion in debt.

Financial daily Globes said Teva would "fire at least 3,000 employees out of its workforce of 7,000 in Israel".

"Teva will close down and sell its Kiryat Shmona Migada disposable medical equipment plant and cut 505 of its workforce in the Petah Tikvah head office," Globes wrote.

Israeli public radio also reported on Wednesday that Teva planned to slash thousands of jobs.

Spokespeople at the company's headquarters near Tel Aviv could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

On November 1, Teva replaced interim chief executive Yitzhak Peterburg with Danish healthcare industry veteran Kare Schultz in what chairman Sol J. Barer called "the start of a new chapter" for the company.

Peterburg resigned on Tuesday from the company’s board effective immediately.

A previous CEO of Teva, Erez Vigodman, stepped down in February, while Chief Financial Officer Eyal Desheh resigned at the end of June.

The pharmaceutical giant has faced several challenges in recent years, including a U.S. court ruling that found patents invalid on Teva's most important branded product, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone.

Last December, Teva was ordered to pay $519 million in the United States to settle charges that it paid bribes to foreign officials to win business in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

AFP contributed to this report.








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