Roche workers protest contract hiring in Poland

Roche workers in Poland have joined the tally of pharma employees protesting employment practices. As Pharmalot reports, workers at the Swiss drugmaker's Polish operations are angry about hiring practices, saying Roche ($RHHBY) brings on contract workers for long-term assignments to avoid actually hiring full-time people who would qualify for benefits, such as job-security protections, sick leave, paid vacation and so on.

The workers' groups say one Roche worker was let go after complaining about the contract-work arrangements. They're asking Roche to give him his job back, maintaining that he was dismissed only because he publicly criticized the company. And they are saying Roche is circumventing the country's labor code by hiring contract workers who are "fictitiously self-employed people."

The Roche protests follow a series of marches staged by employees of its fellow Swiss drugmaker Novartis ($NVS). Union officials and political activists joined the demonstrations in Basel and Nyon against Novartis' plans to cut more than 1,000 jobs in the country. Workers at a plant in Nyon went so far as to stop work for one day. That move got them a seat at the negotiating table with company higher-ups--and the workers ended up persuading Novartis execs to roll back its shutdown plans for the plant in exchange for some concessions from workers and local tax officials.

- read the Pharmalot news