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April 15, 2018 10:58 am

Israeli Unions Warn Teva Pharm Over Plan to Close Ashdod Plant

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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A Teva building in Jerusalem, Dec. 14, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

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

Debt-laden Teva, 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.

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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 a 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.

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