04 September 2009

TEVA is cutting 315 jobs in Waterford

Workers at one of the biggest pharmaceutical factories in Waterford have been told today that 315 of the currently 730 jobs at the plant will be cut within the next 12 months.

TEVA (photo), which is now owned by an Israeli financial consortium and was formally known under the name IVAX, is located at the IDA Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Waterford and manufactures inhalers and tablets.

In a surprise meeting, which had been announced only yesterday evening, the workers and their trade union representatives were informed this morning by the company's management that the tablet production at the factory will cease within 12 months. A part of the manufacturing process will be transferred from Waterford to a factory in Hungary, where wages are about a quarter of current Irish payment levels.

The announced redundancies will be a mixture of voluntary and compulsory, but details of packages have not yet been released.

More Jobs in Danger

Speaking about the job losses, Matt Moran of PharmaChemical Ireland, an umbrella body for the pharmaceutical industry in this country, stated that between 500 and 1000 similar jobs could be "vulnerable".

He said that the cost base for manufacturers in Ireland has risen, and that producing generic pharmaceuticals which are off patent is very susceptible to competitive pressure.

The manufacturing of generic pharmaceuticals represents between 5% and 10 % of the sector's production in Ireland.

Elsewhere, the multinational eye-care company Bausch & Lomb has announced that 500 jobs are to go at its facility in Livingston in Scotland, a move which may help safeguard the remaining 1100 Bausch & Lomb jobs in Waterford.

The company said that as part of a restructuring process, approximately 30 new positions will be created in Rochester in the USA during 2010, but there will be no employment increase in Waterford.

Ireland relies too much on foreign Companies

Once again, many Irish jobs that people might have considered as safe not so long ago are to be lost or potentially in danger. And once again they all are in foreign-owned companies.

Readers of this weblog will be well aware that I am no simple-minded nationalist who praises everything Irish and is suspicious of foreigners. In fact, I am quite an internationalist myself. But I am nevertheless of the opinion that we do have too many Irish jobs that depend on foreign money and investment.
For decades the IDA has always been looking for the big money from abroad, predominantly from the USA. Many US multi-national companies have come to Ireland and employed many Irish people. But a lot of them closed again and left Ireland after a few years, usually when their preferential tax regime ran out. Others have just disappeared without trace, and some others (like DELL in Limerick, and now TEVA in Waterford) are moving a large part of their production to low-wage countries.

Had the IDA spent the vast sums of money it threw - and still throws - at US and other foreign companies on the development of an indigenous Irish industry, we all would be a lot better off.
It is well-known that - especially during a recession - the vast majority of companies will rather cut their workforce abroad, while protecting jobs in their country of origin.

We need a new approach and a complete overhaul of the Irish economy, with much more industries owned and controlled by Irish businessmen and investors. Only then will we be able to create a new stability.
As things are at present in Ireland - and have been for many decades - our economy is neither developed nor independent. The large percentage of foreign-owned companies creates actually a situation of limited economic sovereignty, which has a direct negative influence also on our national (political) sovereignty.

And this time we cannot blame the Irish situation on foreign invaders like the Normans or the English. The mess we are in is of our own making, created over decades by a succession of Irish governments and state agencies like the IDA, who care more for foreign investments than for our own nation's status, competitiveness and stability.

Only a complete change of attitude, combined with serious investment of Irish money in Irish industries, can change our economy for the better.

The Emerald Islander

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