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EMF Studies

14 October 2012

News from Geneva : Final Chapter in the Saga of the Laying Off of Merck Serono's 1,250 Employees?

On 24 April 2012, the pharmaceutical giant Merck, the parent company of Merck Serono, "brutally" announced the elimination of 1,250 posts and closure of the firm in Geneva.   Following is the fate of 510 of its former employees;  750 others still remain without work.  (See also my previous two posts:  "Massive Lay-Offs:  Merck Serono" and "Part 2" .)

Merck Serono provides details of the fate of 500 of its former employees
by Roland Rossler, Tribune de Genève, 29-30 September 2012

What has become of the 1,250 employees brutally thanked last April by the German group, Merck Serono?  In a communiqué, the pharmaceutical company assured that the “professional prospects of more than 500 employees have today been clarified.”

The company has provided details of the fate of 510 of its former employees.  260 of them have accepted the offer of transfer to another site of the group:  170 in Switzerland and 90 abroad.  170 have found a job in another company, including 16 through the assistance program comprising an envelope of 30 million euros.  The company Quintiles, a partner of Merck Serono, “has proposed 40 employment contracts”.  Finally, 80 employees are benefiting from early retirement.

This count irritates Astrid Melotti, one of the representatives of the laid-off personnel.  “These last 80 persons have been forced to retire.  The 170 staff members who accepted a transfer hardly had a choice.  By refusing it, they would lose their entitlement to a social plan,” she stated.

Astrid Melotti laments that the State of Geneva has still not given a “strong signal” to reassure the employees left out and adds that certain contracts proposed by Quintiles are much less interesting.  The employees would clearly lose.

The former employee also emphasizes that most of the 170 persons who have found work did so on their own, without help from Merck Serono.  This was confirmed by Saoyuth Nidh, one of the spokespersons of the German company.

Management is not commenting on the contracts proposed by Quintiles, as it is a question relating to company responsibility.

As for the “financial boost” of 30 million euros, it now amounts to 27.9 million:  2.1 million have been invested in the creation of Prexton Therapeutics, one of the two start-ups launched by Merck Serono in order to minimize the shock of its decision.

(Translated from French)

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