Jerusalem's Teva turmoil

There are some 1,780 Jerusalemites employed at the city’s two branches of Teva, which for decades has been one of the country’s greatest industrial success stories.

By
December 23, 2017 17:51
2 minute read.
Some 1,780 Jerusalemites are employed at the city’s two branches of Teva

Some 1,780 Jerusalemites are employed at the city’s two branches of Teva. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The countrywide general strike launched by the Histadrut labor federation on Sunday in support of Teva employees ended after four hours, but for the Jerusalemites working in the two branches of the crumbling company, the struggle has only begun. The atmosphere among the employees is both gloomy and combative. Sunday morning began by blocking Road 1, the main artery in and out of the city, causing an enormous traffic jam in the morning rush hour. From there, the striking employees moved to the main Teva branch in Har Hotzvim, where they barricaded themselves inside the building and partially blocked the roads to the area and to the north of the city; as of Tuesday, they were still there.

Demonstrations and sporadic blocking of roads in Jerusalem also continued through Tuesday, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ministers of finance, social welfare and economy met with Teva CEO Kåre Schultz. The meeting ended abruptly after Schultz adamantly refused to change anything in his plan and to accept any of government proposals to reduce the number of dismissals or to cancel the decision to close the city’s two factories. At a certain point, Schultz even threatened the prime minister, warning him that any additional attempt to change his plans would lead to firing of more employees.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


However, the two sides managed to work together on programs to help the dismissed employees find alternative jobs and to prepare them for the changes.
Histadrut Labor Federation protesters in front of Teva's factory in Netanya, December 17, 2017 (Courtesy Histadrut PR)

There are some 1,780 Jerusalemites employed at the city’s two branches of Teva, which for decades has been one of the country’s greatest industrial success stories. When it became evident that most of the dismissed employees would be from the Jerusalem branches, the magnitude of the problem gave it new urgency. It will be difficult for Jerusalem to cope with the blow to its economy and to its image as a city with attractive job opportunities.

The Knesset economics committee is holding a special session on the matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is arranging a meeting with the CEO of Teva to explore solutions; Mayor Nir Barkat is also involved in the search for a sustainable solution.

Teva was “born” in the capital, growing from a small local pharmaceutical concern to a major source of pride to the city. For the many couples who both work there, closure of the branches is an economic death sentence. Hence the extreme reactions. The employees intend to remain entrenched in the facility on Har Hotzvim until the threat of massive layoffs is over, and since it was Hanukka this week, the employees, their families and lots of supporters – political figures and residents – joined together each evening for candle lighting.
Teva workers strike outside the Knesset, December 2017

Related Content

Elor Azaria
August 14, 2018
Police deny Elor Azaria’s request for gun license

By TAMARA ZIEVE