French workers block gates to Sanofi plant

Workers have barricaded the gates at a Sanofi-Aventis plant in France, protesting job losses there. The CGT union--which is also behind nationwide oil strikes--announced the workers' move, aiming to persuade management to keep the Romainville manufacturing facility going at full strength.

"Management has refused to consider proposals for continuation of activities and jobs on the site," the union told French media. The company did offer reassignments for 80 employees--an offer CGT also considers "largely" inadequate. Sanofi posted €8.5 billion in profits, the union points out, so it "has the means to maintain employment and to reclassify all 170 employees."

Sanofi has cut jobs and production across the company as it--like the rest of Big Pharma--loses patent protection on key drugs. The company has new generic rivals for its Lovenox drug earlier than it had expected. And it's anticipating the expiration of patent coverage on Plavix, one of the best selling drugs in the world and a major contributor to its bottom line. Just last week the company announced it would cut 1,700 jobs in its U.S. operations. No strikes are planned on this side of the Atlantic.

- see the news from (translated by Google)
- get more from Bloomberg