The tobacco giant Philip Morris has announced it is cutting one in five jobs at its new international headquarters in Lausanne.This content was published on February 16, 2007 - 16:03
The company said in a statement on Friday that around 300 of the 1,500 jobs in the western Swiss city would disappear, as well as 70 others in subsidiaries abroad.
Spokesman Michael Pfeil said the job cuts – to be completed by the end of 2008 – were necessary to increase efficiency and to be able to react better to the dynamics of the market.
He added that the company would do its best to find internal solutions but there would be redundancies. Staff were told of the cuts on Thursday.
Some employees will be offered jobs in the company elsewhere in Switzerland or in foreign subsidiaries.
"In Lausanne, local regulations demand that we give staff the opportunity to give us their comments before those affected are informed," Pfeil said.
The consultation period should be completed by the end of March.
A social plan has been put forward with "generous" compensation, and there will be assistance to find alternative employment.
The employees affected will be given three months' notice.
The head of the cantonal labour office, Roger Piccand, said he was "obviously" surprised by the "bad news" but was realistic about it. "The life of multinationals is one of ebb and flow."
Piccand added that the move would in time strengthen the competitive position of Philip Morris and that would be positive for the canton.
News of the job cuts comes two weeks after the parent company of Philip Morris – Altria – announced plans to spin off Kraft Foods.
However, the Philip Morris spokesman said there was no connection between the job cuts and the spin-off plans.
swissinfo with agencies
Philip Morris International spent SFr284 million ($229.8 million) on its new Lausanne headquarters, which were inaugurated last year.
The group and its subsidiaries employ more than 80,000 around the globe. A staff of about 1,500 is employed in Lausanne.
The company had a 15.4% stake in the international cigarette market in 2006.
The Altria group reported a fourth-quarter net income of $2.96 billion at the end of January, exceeding expectations. However, profit at Kraft Foods fell by 19%.
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