Israel’s main public-sector labor union staged a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, stock exchange, banks and all government ministries to protest at mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Debt-ridden Teva, one of Israel’s largest companies and the world’s largest generics drugmaker, said last week it would cut its global workforce by more than a quarter, or 14,000 jobs.
Some 1,700 jobs will be cut and a manufacturing site will be closed in Israel. This has angered unions and politicians, who believe Teva’s employees should not pay for the company’s failed investments abroad.
Sunday is the beginning of the Israeli work week. Hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike until 12 noon (1000 GMT) and many held solidarity rallies outside Teva facilities.
Protesters also blocked major roads across the country, including the entrance of Jerusalem, and burned tires outside many Teva offices. Demonstrators sat in the middle of streets and crosswalks, halting traffic in a number of cities.
The Histadrut labor federation said hundreds of Teva workers in its Jerusalem plant were squatting inside and would continue a strike again on Monday, while there will also be strikes at other Teva facilities.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shortened its trading day, opening at 1 pm and closed as usual at about 4:30 pm. Teva’s shares fell 0.8 percent.
Departing flights at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport between 8 a.m. and at least 12 p.m. were either canceled or delayed. Similarly, no flights were allowed to land until after 12 p.m.
PUBLIC TRANSIT KEPT RUNNING FOR SOLDIERS
Trains and buses were initially supposed to strike as well, but the Histadrut allowed public transit to operate so that soldiers could get back to their bases as usual.
“We are fighting on behalf of Teva’s workers to save Israel’s industry … and to convey the message that layoffs are the last and not the first step in the public and private sectors,” Histadrut chief Avi Nissenkorn said.
He called the current crisis the fault of Teva’s management and board, adding: “It is the state’s responsibility to prevent thousands of Israeli families from paying the price for this.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he planned to meet with Kare Schultz, Teva’s chief executive, this week to try and minimize the blow to workers.
“We need to do everything possible to prevent the closure of plants in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said at the outset of a cabinet meeting, adding Teva should remain based in Israel.
“It employs thousands of workers,” he said. “It started as an Israeli company and we want it to remain as an Israeli company. We will use various means at our disposal to try and achieve these goals.” He did not elaborate.
Schultz said Teva would maintain its headquarters in Israel.
Saddled with nearly $35 billion in debt since acquiring Allergan’s Actavis generic drug business for $40.5 billion, Teva made a series of changes after Schultz joined as its new chief executive on Nov. 1.
Its two-year restructuring plan is intended to reduce Teva’s cost base by $3 billion by the end of 2019, out of an estimated cost base for 2017 of $16.1 billion.
Nissenkorn said he would meet with Israel’s finance and economy ministers, along with the Teva workers union, on Monday.
by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff
The corrupt Israeli government can allow the whole country to come to a standstill and nobody says boo. But if a couple of bad apple bachurim block a street for a short while, all the Torah haters are up in arms. The Torah haters paint us all with a broad brush. Why the double standard?
“Protesters also blocked major roads across the country, including the entrance of Jerusalem, and burned tires outside many Teva offices. Demonstrators sat in the middle of streets and crosswalks, halting traffic in a number of cities.”
Any other readers out there notice the similarities between the actions of these “demonstrators” and the actions of the Peleg Yeshiva’leit who were maligned as “rioters” and “violent protesters”
Why aren’t the police violently dispersing these striking teva workers and reopening the streets like they did to the Peleg Yeshiva’leit.
Why aren’t they arresting these demonstrators like they did to the Peleg Yeshiva’leit.
Why aren’t they using Skunk water against them like they did to the Peleg Yeshiva’leit.
Why isn’t the Israeli media and SOME CHAREIDI POLITICIANS condemning the disruptive actions of these demonstrators like they did to the Peleg Yeshiva’leit
Finally, why aren’t all the commentators on THIS website who condemned the actions of Peleg and decried the “chilul hashem” apologizing for not realizing that all the rhetoric against the Peleg demonstrators was politically motivated and there is s great double standard in Israel
Because they’ll do it once but won’t do it again…
Hefkeirut! If they want to go in solidarity with Teva workers who were laid off, let them pray for them, fast for them, but there’s no reason the entire country has to shut down because of them and go kadarom; lose money, delay flights, roads blocked, etc.
There is plenty of hypocrisy to go around. But that still doesn’t justify alleged “bnei Torah” acting knegged haTorah by stealing other people’s time and endangering their lives.
Is there a double standard? You bet there is. A Ben Torah has to conduct himself al pi Torah regardless of the consequences. And these Peleg hoodlums are decidedly not doing that. To whine about “how come the police don’t beat up the Teva protestors” misses the entire point.