Workers at a Teva Pharmaceuticals production facility in Kfar Saba declared a labor dispute last week, claiming that management has violated the terms of their collective bargaining agreement and mistreated workers’ representatives.

Acceptance constitutes acceptance of the Website Terms of Use

Eliezer Belo, chairman of the Union of Food and Pharmaceutical Workers, announced the dispute in a letter to Teva’s Vice President of Human Resources. In the letter, Belo claims that several months ago, members of Teva’s management approached the Histadrut and the Workers’ Union asking for their support for a process of “optimization” at the plant in Kfar Saba.

“The Workers’ Union of the Kfar Saba plant and the Histadrut, with the best interest of the workers and the factory, signed on to a difficult process, after which a collective bargaining agreement was signed. In accordance with this agreement, many workers are at this very moment ending their employment,” wrote Belo.

Eliezer Belo, Chairman of the Union of Food and Pharmaceutical Workers (Photo: Private Album)

“The ink from this agreement has yet to dry, and we have already seen that nearly all of its terms have been violated. In violation of the agreement contract workers have been brought into the factory and certain functions have been outsourced to India. This in addition to behavior that has not been in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement as pertains to lists of laid off workers,” Belo said.

“Additionally, it has become clear that the positions that management claims have become redundant are not in fact redundant, but rather that management is attempting to consolidate positions and alter job descriptions in order to have the remaining employees take on the workload of fired workers without any additional compensation.”

Belo added that the site’s management was engaging in inappropriate activities that went contrary to the terms of the collective agreements, going as far as going against the Histadrut and the workers’ representatives on the site. Moreover, Belo claimed that the site’s director, Shosh Neumann, acted with the aim of personally harming the head of the Workers’ Union – Eliran Kozlik – and turned to the other members of the union in order to figure out a way to fire him.

Eliran Kozlik, chairman of the Worker's Union at the Teva production facility in Kfar Saba. (Photo: Private Album)

In a statement issued by Kozlik, he clarified that the labor dispute was declared after the company’s management did not respond to Belo’s letter. “We no longer have the option to sit and wait around, given the moves that management has made to undermine the workers who are organizing on site. They are attempting to weaken our organizational power and we will not allow this,” he declared.

Kozlik stressed that the employees made good-faith efforts to cooperate with the management team and went out of their way to salvage the relationship.

“We call on the management not to test our organizational strength. If the situation continues down this path, we will not hesitate to act in accordance with our best interests, making difficult and painful decisions that will impact the plant itself,” he concluded.

Teva Pharmaceuticals’ management team responded to the claims made against them, stating: “For decades, Teva has maintained a healthy and positive network of collective labor relations at our sites in Israel. It is based on mutual appreciation and respect with open dialogue and communication with workers’ representatives as a first-rate means of resolving disputes and conflicts. In light of this, we reject outright any claim of violation of the freedom of association at the Kfar Saba site.”

According to Teva, in the weeks following the signing of the collective agreement at the Kfar Saba site, the company and the site’s management were accused of allegedly violating the collective agreement and “making decisions which have nothing to do with reality or are not relevant today.”

On the other hand, they argued that the company attempted to meet with employee representatives and initiate a transparent and productive dialogue while addressing the substance of the allegations, but “time and time again, encountered evasion and outright rejection.”

“Even when a meeting was scheduled to be mediated with Avi Nissenokorn, the Worker’s Union canceled the meeting at the last minute for no reason.Teva is ready to reach out again and negotiate as soon as possible to straighten things out. Our workers at the Kfar Saba are very important and dear to us, and there is no other way to resolve matters than to return to the negotiating table,” Teva’s statement concluded.