Teva admin staff in Israel agree to improved redundancy packages

JERUSALEM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reached agreement with Israel’s Histadrut labour federation on Thursday to award preferential severance packages to company administrative staff taking voluntary redundancy, both sides said in a statement.

The move is part of a global restructuring by the world’s largest generic drugmaker in which it plans to cut more than a quarter of its workforce, or some 14,000 jobs.

Under a two-year plan, Teva aims to reduce costs by $3 billion by the end of 2019, from about $16.1 billion in 2017. Some 1,700 jobs are expected to be lost in Israel and workers have protested since the cuts were announced.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Teva CEO Kare Schultz last month to try to convince the company to limit its job cuts in Israel but Schultz said it was imperative that the cuts be made to secure Teva’s future and prevent exposing the company to possible takeover bids.

“After weeks of talks, the Histadrut and the workers’ committee and the company’s management reached an agreement today to give the administrative staff honourable severance packages,” Teva and the Histadrut said in a joint statement.

It did not say how many staff were involved in the deal but it added that if further redundancies are required beyond the voluntary stage, dismissed workers would also receive increased severance packages and other assistance to help them find other jobs.

Since the cost-cutting plan was announced last month, workers from a tablet plant in Jerusalem, which employs 500 people, and an adjacent inhaler plant about half the size, had held protests and disrupted operations. (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Adrian Croft)