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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


“Good morning Ma'aleh Adumim!

This [Sunday] morning, the employees of Teva Pharmaceuticals [1] awoke with a 'knife at their throats,' figuratively. For years, they faithfully served the company; until on one fine day, they discovered that they had become part of a plan to increase ‘financial efficiency.’ [2] In a cold and estranging manner, the incoming CEO announced that he was firing 1700 of the company's [Israeli] employees. I admit that my personal acquaintance with some of the workers (those living in Ma'aleh Adumim) makes this extreme and dramatic act a personal matter as well.

I will not go into the economic considerations of the company. I also recognize the management's need to save some part of the company at some expense rather than lose the company altogether. Yet, I am extremely angry at the Ministry of Finance, which granted the company tax breaks for years without demanding that they sign on long-term employment options for at least a minimum amount of employees. I am also angry at Teva for unethically choosing to make employee cuts specifically in the Israel-based factories: the very place where the company was created; the place where groundbreaking research (by the Weizmann Institute [3]) was performed which turned the company into an empire!; and the place which granted the company billions of shekels in tax cuts.

I arrived this morning to express my support and solidarity with the workers' struggle against Teva in Jerusalem.

Dear Teva Workers! I hope that the pressure we are exerting on the company's management and on the government will yield results. There are many other alternatives for the company to consider in increasing its 'economic efficiency.' I believe that so long as the letters of dismissal have not been signed, change is still possible.

We do not seek charity, but rather the fruits of our labor!”

– Guy Yifrach

0202 Editor’s Notes:
[1] Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is an Israel-based international pharmaceutical company. It specializes primarily in generic drugs and is one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world. As of 2016, Teva has 7964 employees in Israel.
[2] Teva has announced that it would lay off more than a quarter of its global workforce, or some 14,000 people, within the next two years. Some 1,750 workers are to be let go in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the CEO to limit the layoffs. Politicians from across the political spectrum slammed Teva, saying that it had benefited from 20 billion shekels in tax deductions and public subsidies. To read more on the issue, see: https://goo.gl/kN48vP.
[3] The Weizmann Institute of Science is a public research university in Rehovot, Israel, established in 1934.

#Pharmaceuticals #Unemployment