Merck reconsiders Dutch R&D redundancies

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US pharmaceutical company Merck says it is prepared to review redundancies at its subsidiary Organon in the Netherlands.

The news comes after Dutch caretaker Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven visited the drugs firm in New Jersey to discuss plans for mass redundancies at Organon. Earlier Merck had decided to dismantle its Research and Development division in the Dutch town of Oss. This would mean redundancy for almost half the 4500 workers at its Dutch subsidiary.

Ms Van der Hoeven says Merck is willing to talk with interested parties about a long-term solution. The company may even invest in a science campus. However, there are no guarantees that all jobs will be saved as Organon will still have to undergo a reorganisation. It is not clear how many jobs may have to go. The minister says a deadline of 31 December to find solutions still stands.

The recently announced plans caused commotion among staff, who threatened legal steps against mass sackings.

On Tuesday, US pharmaceutical company Abbott announced 500 jobs would go at its Solvay factory in the town of Weesp. The Socialist Party, which has close connections with the town of Oss, has requested a debate about the proposed job losses.

 

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