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Workers at Janssen strike over job cuts

Employees at US-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson's Belgian research subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica have gone on strike.

Employees at US-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Belgian research subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica have gone on strike.

J&J revealed back in July 2007 that it would cut between three and four per cent of its global workforce (up to 4,800 jobs) to offset declining sales of drugs due to generic competition and upcoming loss of patent protection.

As a result, Janssen Pharmaceutica said it would cut costs by 15 per cent, including the loss of 521 full-time employees, while not renewing 167 temporary worker contracts.

On 15 November, a social plan presented to Janssen workers was rejected by 90 per cent of employees. The strike was called on 19 November.

According to Janssen's head of public affairs Stefan Gijssels, three Janssen plants are affected. Nearly all of the 4,700-strong work force are joining in the industrial action, and just a few clinical trials are still active.

Gijssels added: "This affects all our activities. We have no idea how long it will last, but we have to talk with unions as soon as possible. That means probably in the coming days. At the same time we have to invest in research. We are in the same boat as a number of other pharmaceutical companies."

30th September 2008

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