Protestors urge Novartis to scrap job cuts

Unions say around 1,000 people have demonstrated in Basel against plans by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis to cut 2,000 jobs, including 1,100 in Switzerland.

This content was published on October 29, 2011 - 14:34 and agencies

“The demonstrators … are criticising Novartis for putting profits ahead of jobs and want it to reconsider its decision,” said the trade union Unia in a statement.

Novartis announced the cuts, which will take effect over the next three to five years, on Tuesday. A further 900 positions will be eliminated in the United States.

The news came as Novartis announced its third-quarter results, posting a seven per cent increase in net profit and earnings of $2.49 billion (SFr2.19 billion), up from $2.32 billion for the same period last year.

Sales grew 18 per cent to $14.8 billion in the third quarter, with new products contributing about a quarter, or $3.6 billion.

Along with the 2,000 job losses, the Basel-based company said 700 new positions would be created in low-cost countries, resulting in estimated annual savings of over $200 million.

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