Job cuts loom at Philip Morris Swiss sites

Philip Morris is planning for a future with smoke-free products. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris may cut as many as 350 jobs in Switzerland next year as it concentrates on smokeless products, according to internal communications seen by a trade union.

This content was published on December 24, 2019 - 10:43

The uncertainty surrounding employees at facilities in Neuchâtel and Lausanne in French-speaking western Switzerland comes months after Japan Tobacco International announced 268 job cuts from its Geneva headquarters.

The Neuchâtel regional office of the Unia trade union told the 24 Heures newspaper that it has seen an internal email announcing the impending job cuts at Philip Morris. The company told Swiss public broadcaster RTS that it would release details in the first quarter of 2020.

But it confirmed that it is conducting a strategy review based on increased activities around smokeless tobacco products.

“Some time ago, we announced organizational changes to meet our ambitions of a smoke-free world, where cigarettes will be rapidly replaced by less harmful products based on science,” spokesman Tommaso Di Giovanni told RTS, adding that new staff had been taken as a result. “We are now in a phase where we are evaluating the best organizational structure to face the new challenges. And it’s clear that we’re discussing changes in central functions.”

Unia said the proposed job cuts would affect Philip Morris’s research and development unit as opposed to production sites, which is why the union says it had not been officially consulted on the plans.

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