Hundreds of Teva workers barricade themselves in factory

Workers gather in factory, after demonstrating throughout J'lem, over pharmaceutical giant's plan to fire 1,700 employees.

Mordechai Sones ,

Teva workers barricaded in plant
Teva workers barricaded in plant
Histadrut Spokesperson

After blocking major roads in Jerusalem and other centers around the country, hundreds of Teva pharmaceutical workers barricaded themselves on Sunday afternoon in the company's plant in Jerusalem.

Police reported that all roads in Jerusalem that were blocked during the morning and afternoon hours due to the protests are now open, except Har Hotsvim junction in Jreusalem which is where one factory is located and which was opened and then reclosed again.

Meanwhile, at 12:00 noon, all Histadrut labor union workers in the country striking in solidarity with Teva workers returned to work. Among services that have resumed operation are Ben-Gurion Airport, the sea ports, the Israel Electric Corporation, and others.

"The workers' cry will continue to resonate until the brick walls are breached; the workers are not invisible and the Histadrut labor union will continue to struggle for them and with them until a suitable solution is found for the crisis," the Histadrut spokesman said.

Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and Economics and Industry Minister Eli Cohen are expected to hold a special meeting tomorrow with the workers and committee heads at Teva.

This morning the Prime Minister said at the start of the cabinet meeting, "This week I will bring the Finance Minister and Economy Minister to meet with the CEO of Teva. I held a conversation with him last week and said that our primary goal is first and foremost to minimize the damage to workers," Netanyahu said.

"The second thing is to do as much as possible in order to prevent the closure of a plant or factories in Jerusalem, and the third is to ensure that Teva remains in the State of Israel. It is an Israeli company and we want it to remain an Israeli company."

Teva received billions in tax breaks before the law granting such breaks to businesses - to encourage investment in Israel and not in countries with cheaper labor, similar to Donald Trump's tax cuts for businesses - was amended in 2013 to stipulate the condition that workers' jobs are guaranteed. In the meanwhile, Teva's board of directors voted to acquire another company at the cost of over 40 billion dollars which turned out to be a drastic error in judgment, and is the main reason for the company's financial problems. Public knowledge of the tax breaks and the directorate's disastrous acquisition have heightened the feeling of injustice felt by the workers who did not make the bad decisions on finances, but are forced to suffer the results.