General strike over Teva job cuts to halt flights at Ben Gurion Sunday morning
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General strike over Teva job cuts to halt flights at Ben Gurion Sunday morning

Planes to be grounded for 4 hours in 'solidarity' with Israeli workers to be laid off by pharmaceutical giant

A passenger observes the runway from a window at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, April 21, 2013. (Flash90)
A passenger observes the runway from a window at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, April 21, 2013. (Flash90)

Israel’s powerful Histadrut trade union said Ben Gurion Airport will shut for four hours Sunday as part of a nationwide strike over plans by pharmaceutical giant Teva to shed employees.

Air traffic at the country’s main international airport in Tel Aviv will be suspended between 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., said the Histadrut, which has called for a “solidarity” strike as well at ports, banks, ministries and other sectors.

Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn said 1,750 employees will be made redundant by Teva as part of plans to slash 14,000 jobs globally over two years.

Histadrut leader Avi Nissenkorn attends a hearing at the National Labor Court in Jerusalem on December 5, 2017, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest producer of generic drugs, said on Thursday its reductions would be across the board and in all its locations.

The cuts would amount to more than a quarter of Teva’s global workforce of over 55,000.

A Teva Pharmaceutical Industries building in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, December 14, 2017. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Teva has been saddled with debt after its $40-billion acquisition of the generics arm of rival Allergan was completed last year.

The acquisition has been accompanied by low prices for generics, particularly in the United States, a major market.

Nissenkorn, who has met with Teva management, has said that 1,250 employees in Israel will be sacked in 2018 and 500 the following year.

According to Histadrut, Teva has received $6.2 billion in tax reductions since 2006.

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