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As France protests, Sanofi takes axe to 670 jobs

Layoffs latest in restructuring programme

France’s biggest drugmaker Sanofi has said it plans to cut 670 jobs within its home market by 2020, with the brunt coming mainly from administrative functions.

The layoffs will be made on a voluntary basis, according to the company, and would affect head office roles such as human resources, IT, legal, and finances, with around 80 IT jobs set to be outsourced, according to an AFP report citing French trade union CGT.

At the same time, Sanofi plans to recruit 250 people in France in new professions, such as bioproduction and digital, according to AFP, which cites president of the company’s France operations Guillaume Leroy. The group also said it plans to invest €700m in France to upgrade its production sites, notably in the areas of vaccines manufacturing and other biologic medicines.

Gilets Jaunes

Employees at Sanofi's facility in Tours have taken part in the 'gilets jaunes' protests which have swept the nation. Image: Pixabay

That’s not enough to mollify CGT representative Thierry Brodin, who told Reuters: “We are blindsided as Sanofi makes significant amounts of profits. And at a time of strong social tensions in France, the government is looking the other way.”

The headline announcement will do nothing to settle the ongoing unrest among workers in France, culminating in the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests against what they claim are steadily rising costs that, along with slow-growing or declining wages, have cut into their standard of living.

CGT union members at Sanofi’s Tours facilities issued a call to arms at the end of last month to participate in the gilets jaunes demonstrations at the start of December.

The union has just launched a petition urging France – which it says is among the top three nations paying dividends to shareholders – to introduce measures to redistribute the wealth created by companies to workers.

For Sanofi, which employs 25,000 people in France, the latest announcement is merely the latest piece of its ongoing restructuring programme, which in September reached a €1.5bn annual cost-reduction target around a year ahead of expectations.

The cost-cutting comes as Sanofi is trying to weather the effects of losing patent protection for diabetes blockbuster Lantus (insulin glargine) and build momentum behind new drugs such as atopic dermatitis therapy Dupixent (dupilumab), checkpoint inhibitor Libtayo (cemiplimab) for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) and Cablivi (caplacizumab) for acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th December 2018

From: Marketing

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