Last updated: 16 October, 2013

Israel’s Teva: no itchy trigger-finger on job cuts

Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva said Wednesday that reports on the number of dismissals it plans in Israel as part of cost-cutting measures have been exaggerated.

“The number (of jobs to be cut) will include people who are due for retirement because they have reached retirement age,” Teva vice-president Ika Abravanel told the Israeli parliament’s finance committee in remarks broadcast on public radio.

“Some people are interested in taking voluntary retirement — that’s included in the numbers; some people want to leave Teva because they want to work elsewhere, and that’s included in the numbers,” he said.

“We shall not close plants in Israel,” the radio’s parliamentary correspondent quoted him as adding.

“Teva will continue to act with great responsibility in the future as it has done until now,” Abravanel said in the broadcast remarks. “There will be no itchy trigger-finger.”

Teva CEO Jeremy Levin met Israeli union chief Ofer Eini for five hours of talks on Tuesday.

“They agreed that there would be no layoffs without the consent of the Histadrut (trades union federation),” its spokesman Yaniv Levy told AFP on Wednesday.

Teva last week said it planned to reduce staff by an average of 10 percent across its global operations by the end of 2014 as part of a mammoth cost-cutting plan.

The world’s largest generic drug maker, founded in 1901 in Jerusalem, employs 7,500 people in Israel, where politicians and media have spoken of an impending 700-800 layoffs.

“The number of people to be fired will be lower than the number of positions to be saved,” Abravanel said. “Not 800…not 700. If you ask me if I have any estimate, I have no estimate.”

Teva is currently reviewing its spending and possible cost cuts and has said it will announce details in December.