15. May 2012 14:08
Workers at Merck Serono’s doomed headquarters in Geneva are planning strike action if Merck does not extend the timeframe for consultation with union leaders over job cuts.
Employees have already staged ‘coffee and croissant’ protests and have now threatened industrial action at the planned closure of the plant.
Merck estimates that up to 500 jobs will be lost and 750 transferred. However, trade union Unia claims that up to 1,500 positions will be affected in total.
A spokesperson for the Swiss employee group said the terms and condition provided by Merck under its transfer plans are “really unattractive and mean lower quality of life if accepted”.
Merck revealed its efficiency plans back in April as part of measures aimed to make net savings in the Serono division of €300m by 2014. It estimates the restructuring costs will be approximately €600m.
Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of Merck’s Executive Board, said the company faces “unprecedented market shifts and increasing competition in key areas” and is “fortunate” it can address these issues from a “position of relative strength”.
He warned that if Merck does not take action it faces “tackling these issues from a much weaker position”.
Mr Kley added that the efficiency programme is not solely reserved for Merck Serono and will “affect all businesses in all regions” but remains convinced the plans “will lay the foundation” for Merck to build on new opportunities.