April 15, 2018 / 11:50 AM / 11 days ago

Israeli unions warn Teva Pharm over plan to close Ashdod plant

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s main labor federation intends to take labor or legal action against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA) if the drugmaker does not suspend a decision to close a plant in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, it said on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: A man cleans near the logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries at their plant in Jerusalem December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Debt-laden Teva (TEVA.N), the world’s largest generic drugmaker and Israel’s biggest company, said last week that it would close the unprofitable plant in March 2019 after failing to find a buyer for the facility.

Half of the factory’s 175 workers would lose their jobs in the coming months, with the rest continuing to work until the plant closes.

In a letter to Teva’s management, the Histadrut federation said the company’s decision was contrary to a prior declaration that it would retain most of its activities in Israel.

The federation said it had been in contact with potential buyers of the plant who said that their requests to enter deal talks had been ignored.

    A Histadrut spokesman declined to name the potential buyers but said there were two such offers.

    A Teva representative was not immediately available to comment.

    The company has until Tuesday to respond, Histadrut said in its letter, while spokesman for the federation said the unions could take strike action or take the case to court.

    In December Teva said it would cut 14,000 jobs — 25 percent of its global workforce — and close many plants as part of a restructuring aimed at clearing debt.

    Teva has said that some of the Ashdod plant’s activities were outside its core business and the production of IV bags — accounting for half the plant’s activity — is not profitable.

    Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by David Goodman

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