Merck whacking jobs at Canada plant it expanded last year

A report, citing La Presse, says Merck ($MRK) is cutting a quarter of its workforce at a plant in Pointe Claire, Canada.

A spokesperson told the news agency that it was left with too many employees after its acquisition of Schering-Plough. The report says 56 of 246 jobs will be eliminated at the Quebec plant, according to CJAD.

Merck just last year talked about saving jobs at the plant after investing $33.2 million to modernize it. It makes liquids, ointments and creams. But Merck Canada President and Managing Director Cyril Schiever also noted that the investments improved its efficiency: "The investment has allowed us to install cutting-edge technology and improve the facility's efficiency."

The project included a 56,500-square-foot warehouse and 7 liquid, ointment and cream filling lines, along with new equipment. Merck said it would produce 14 new products totaling 8 million units per year.

The company has been cutting production jobs elsewhere, including at an API plant in Ireland, where it eliminated 90 jobs in October.

- read the CJAD report 
- here's the La Presse story 
- here's the release