Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Now Reuters (US) Is Reporting On Merck's Dutch Labor Missteps

About three weeks after I specifically started this narrative stateside (and six months after I pointed to this being a real probability), Reuters (US) is running a story on the labor unrest in Europe -- across much of the publicly-traded multinational pharma industry. Reuters correctly notes that big pharma has not -- in the past -- been much of a hotbed of European labor unrest. It seems -- with these latest 65,000 or so layoffs (industry wide) in Europe's pharma sector -- that is all changing (just as I said it would, on March 12, 2010, more than six months ago):

. . . ."The pharma industry has the strategy of externalising R&D and revising productivity so they can cut costs and that is unacceptable given the profits these companies make," said CGT trade union spokesman Thierry Bodin.

"We see executives pocket high salaries while employees suffer the consequences."

In the Netherlands, Merck is facing a Sept. 2 court hearing over the restructuring of its Dutch operations, including its plan to close the R&D sites and lay off 2,175 of a total 4,500 workers by end-2012.

The Dutch works council, which represents employee interests, argues it has not been properly consulted.

"We hope the judge will say that that decision cannot be made and that Merck has to reconsider the decision," said Iris van Dinther, works council member at Organon BioSciences.

Asked about possible strike action, Van Dinther said no decision had been made prior to the court ruling, but workers were ready to take action. . . .

Quite so.

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