22 Oct 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Admist the public furor over Teva Pharmaceutical plans to axe hundreds of employees in Israel, the 1,100 employees at the firm's Teva-Tech plant at Neot Hovav in the Negev have gone on strike over their salaries and work conditions. The employees have alleged that 60 percent of the plant's staff earn the minimum wage and also work on weekend and holiday shifts.
Teva-Tech workers committee chairman Mr Avraham Zohar said, "Teva's management has decided not to negotiate on a salary agreement, and is offering the same proposal for all the plants, a pay hike of five percent over five years. The problem is that management is perpetuating the gaps between the center and the periphery. In central Israel, the average salary is around $3,678 (NIS 13,000), but in the south, the average salary is $1,273 (NIS 4,500)."
He further said, "In effect, management is willing to give residents in central Israel a pay hike of more than $848 (NIS 3,000) under the agreement, while employees in the periphery will have to make do with just $113 (NIS 400). We won't lend a hand to the perpetuation of these differentials at the company. We cannot survive another year on these salaries."
Mr Meir Babayoff, chairman, Negev District, Histadrut, which is the General Federation of Labor in Israel, said that, "The employees at the Teva-Tech plant, which is a hazardous chemicals plant, earn starvation wages. We should ensure that the employees will earn a fair wage as workers at a hazardous chemicals plant who produce for the company its huge profits. It's important to understand that these workers are fighting to put food on the table. We're ready for a long strike here."