Israeli employees are planning to participate in a general solidarity strike on Sunday called by Israel’s national labor union, the Histadrut to protest the layoff of 1,750 employees at Teva Pharmaceuticals as part of a global reorganization.
The company is planning to slash 14,000 of its 55,000 jobs worldwide over the next two years. Of those in Israel, 1,250 are to be laid off in 2018, with 500 to be let go the year after.
Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn said in his announcement that the union was calling a general strike in order to send a “clear message” that the layoff of Israeli workers is not acceptable.
Nissenkorn announced that all public transport, Ben Gurion International Airport, HMO (kupat holim) clinics, banks and stock exchange would strike Sunday morning until midday in solidarity with the Teva employees.
In addition, an open-ended strike is to begin at Teva itself.
“We are fighting for the workers of Teva, to save the industry in Israel and to support ‘blue and white.’ Organized labor has been enlisted and is sending a clear message,” he said.
“Teva has received NIS 22 billion in tax benefits since 2006. NIS 22 billion that Israel’s citizens gave to the company. They knew how to take it and now they are turning their back on the country. The Israeli government cannot turn its back but must demand a genuine solution and vision. We have proved before that we a company is in trouble we rally to the cause.
“The entire country stands in solidarity with Teva. The banks, stock exchange and public transport,” Nissenkorn said.”
On Sunday morning, Ben Gurion International Airport in scheduled to close from 8 am to 12 noon in “solidarity” with the Teva workers who are to be laid off. Departing flights are expected to be grounded and it is not yet clear how incoming flights are going to be impacted.
United Hatzalah has announced it is raising its alert level across the country due to the strike. The staff of Magen David Adom is reportedly joining the general strike in Israel on Sunday; in response, the nearly 4,000 volunteers of United Hatzalah were told to raise their alert level in the field to pick up the slack effective midnight Saturday night.