In the shadow of the public furor over Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) intention to lay off hundreds of employees in Israel, the 1,100 employees at the company's Teva-Tech plant at Neot Hovav in the Negev have gone on strike over their salaries and work conditions.
The employees claim that 60% of the plant's employees earn the minimum wage, even when working on weekend and holiday shifts.
Teva-Tech workers committee chairman Avraham Zohar said, "Teva's management has decided not to negotiate on a salary agreement, and is offering the same proposal for all the plants, [a pay hike of] 5% over five years. The problem is that management is perpetuating the gaps between the center and the periphery. In central Israel, the average salary is around NIS 13,000, but in the south, the average salary is NIS 4,500. In effect, management is willing to give residents in central Israel a pay hike of more than NIS 3,000 under the agreement, while employees in the periphery will have to make do with just NIS 400. We won't lend a hand to the perpetuation of these differentials at the company. We cannot survive another year on these salaries."
Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) Negev District chairman Meir Babayoff said, "The employees at the Teva-Tech plant, which is a hazardous chemicals plant, earn starvation wages. We should ensure that the employees will earn a fair wage as workers at a hazardous chemicals plant who produce for the company its huge profits. It's important to understand that these workers are fighting to put food on the table. We're ready for a long strike here."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 20, 2013
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