Novartis slashes 8,000 jobs worldwide

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis is slashing around 8,000 jobs worldwide, or just over seven percent of its global workforce, as part of a large restructuring push.

Novartis, which currently employs some 108,000 people around the world, confirmed late Tuesday that it would shed thousands of jobs as part of a restructuring plan announced in April.

Under that plan, the company aims to simplify its structure, among other things gathering oncology and other pharmaceutical activities in a single division.

No figures were initially given for the layoffs, but Swiss media reported the global number Tuesday, and also said the company planned to slash 1,400 jobs in Switzerland — about 12 percent of its workforce in the country.

In an email sent to employees, Novartis chief Vas Narasimhan explained the company’s new structure, which he promised would be “both leaner and simpler”.

But this “will unfortunately entail layoffs,” he wrote, according to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

Some jobs will be transferred to the Czech Republic and to India, but others, which become superfluous with the restructuring, will be eliminated, it said.

The company aims to “rationalise our global functions”, a Novartis spokesman told AFP, adding that jobs in finance, legal services and communications would be cut.

“We recognise the impact these changes will have on our people,” he said, vowing that the company would “ensure we meet all requirements for employee consultation, via representative bodies where applicable, and provide outplacement and career counselling support to those who are impacted.”

The company said in April that this restructuring plan would leave it with $1 billion more in its coffers by 2024, from selling off divisions, cutting administrative expenses and overall cost-savings. — Agence France-Presse