Labor disputes lead Pfizer to lock workers out of plant in India

Labor issues at a Pfizer ($PFE) plant in Thane, India, have led the company to lock employees out of the facility after workers were said to have tried to stop production and threatened managers.

The company did not say what has led to the problems, but workers told The Hindu BusinessLine that the 212 employees were frustrated after 6 years of discussions over salaries and medical coverage.

According to a statement from Pfizer spokesperson Trupti Deepak Wagh, "We have engaged the workmen in many conversations in the past to maintain harmonious relations. Despite this, there continued to be incidents of indiscipline, threats to our management personnel as well as attempts to disrupt production lines. We place utmost emphasis on colleague safety and hence we have been forced to issue a lockout notice."

Wagh said the lockout would not create any supply issues for the company, but that the company would not resume production until it got assurances from workers that the safety of "our colleagues will not be compromised in any manner."

Labor disagreements are not uncommon in pharma. Last year, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) backed down on proposed job cuts at plants there after labor leaders vowed to strike and the government jumped into the fray. In France, Sanofi ($SNY) has faced repeated labor actions over cuts it planned there. In 2012, Roche ($RHHBY) workers in Poland protested the company's use of contract employees.

- read the Hindu BusinessLine story

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