Novartis staffers stop work at Nyon plant in jobs protest

Swiss workers haven't taken Novartis' ($NVS) job-cutting plans lying down. First, union members and political activists joined protests in Basel--including one at Chairman Daniel Vasella's (photo) villa. Over last weekend, some 1,000 workers in Nyon marched with union leaders and local residents, opposing plans to close a plant there, slashing 320 jobs--or almost half of its workforce.

Now, the Nyon employees have stopped working, grinding the plant to a halt. Plant officials had asked Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez (photo) for a meeting yesterday, and when they got no answer, they decided to stage a one-day strike. The Nyon workers say they want Novartis' leadership to consider some alternate proposals before moving forward with the job cuts and plant closure. "We want to talk to the person who decides," Unia rep Jean Kunz told the ATS news agency.

In a statement, Jimenez said he wants to "continue the dialogue" between the company and the Nyon employees, Bieler Tagblatt reported. Jimenez plans to meet with Nyon employees in due time, but until then, he has charged Novartis' Swiss director Armin Zust to handle talks.

Alarmed by the strike--and the prospects for the local economy--the Vaud state government has asked Zust to "confirm that the closure of the site is not irrevocable," RTN reports.

- get the article from BusinessReport
- read the NewEurope story
- see the Bieler Tagblatt piece (German)
- check out the Le Temps coverage (French)