Boehringer targets sales reps in new round of French job cuts

Boehringer Ingelheim has been on a job-cutting spree in recent months. The German drugmaker has shuttered plants in France and the U.S. and cut jobs at other manufacturing facilities. Now, the company is applying its scalpel to sales and administration in France.

As PMLive reports, Boehringer plans to cut 178 jobs in a reorganization of its French unit. Two French trade unions say the company will shed 143 jobs in sales and another 35 in administration. Sixty-four more workers will be moved to other positions but are expected to stay on the payroll.

According to the CFE-CGC union, the job cuts amount to 40% of Boehringer's sales force in the country and 20% of its French unit overall.

It's no secret that Boehringer has been suffering in Europe, thanks to government austerity moves. Indeed, as healthcare budgets shrink and prices slide, drugmakers have all but written off Europe as a growth market, at least for now. Earlier this year, Boehringer said it would revamp its European operations to account for stagnation there, while investing in other geographic areas.

Recent events bear that out: As PMLive notes, the latest French cuts follow news of an API plant shutdown near Bordeaux, with 54 jobs on the line. Meanwhile, Boehringer said it would spend €86 million to beef up its Chinese operations at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai. The company expects its workforce there to grow to about 350 from its current 240.

The company also has been slashing employment in the U.S. Last month, Boehringer said it would shut down an API plant in Virginia, a move that would obliterate 240 jobs. Soon after, it announced plans to stop production at two older facilities in Ohio to concentrate manufacturing in newer plants that are "more commercially sustainable;" those changes could claim up to 640 jobs.

- read the PMLive piece

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