Israel strike to cease flights at Ben Gurion airport

Israel strike to cease flights at Ben Gurion airport

Teva will make 1,750 employees redundant in Israel as part of plans to slash 14,000 jobs globally over two years, according to Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn.

Netanyahu noted that Teva, once a flagship company of Israeli industry, hires thousands of employees in Israel.

As part of the protest action, Teva employees also demonstrated at company locations around the country, Histadrut said.

The move prompted the Histadrut, Israel's main labor federation, to announce a half-day solidarity strike in the public sector from morning until noon.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shortened its trading day, opening at 1 pm and will close as usual at about 4:30 pm.

Teva Pharmaceutical will cut its workforce by more than a quarter, give up many of its manufacturing plants and suspend its dividend on ordinary shares in a much-anticipated overhaul to help pay back its massive debt. Similarly, no flights were be allowed to land until after 12 pm.

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Schultz sent Netanyahu a letter last week apologizing for the layoffs but said the company had no choice.

Demonstrators blocked traffic at the entrance to Jerusalem outside the prime minister's office as the Cabinet was convening, and at the entrance to the Teva plant.

A statement from his office said Netanyahu was aiming to "reduce the damage to workers, do everything possible to avoid the closure of the factory in Jerusalem, and ensure Teva remained an Israeli firm". It employs thousands of workers. "It started as an Israeli company and we want it to remain as an Israeli company", he said. He did not elaborate.

Saddled with almost $35 billion in debt since acquiring Allergan's Actavis generic drug business for $40.5 billion, Teva made a series of changes after Kare Schultz joined as its new chief executive on November 1. The cost-cutting plan revealed Thursday by Teva CEO Kåre Schultz showcases an intention to transform Teva into a lean and efficient generic drug company, much like main competitor Mylan.

The two-year restructuring plan is meant 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, who has met with Teva management, has said that 1,250 employees in Israel will be sacked in 2018 and 500 the following year.

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