Sanofi Job Cuts Backed by French Minister

With Sanofi expected to be near to announcing the number of planned job losses in France, and worker protests increasing, the Paris-headquartered organisation have received unexpected support from a French government minister.

In July this year, Sanofi announced that they planned to cut jobs at two French sites with the aim to protect the organisation’s profitability, which has been exposed by recent patent expirations and the economic recession across the majority of Europe.

The newspaper Le Figaro have claimed that Sanofi will reveal the precise numbers of job cuts on September 25th and that the number is expected to be between 1,500 and 2,500, roughly 5%-7% of their 28,000 French workforce.

Le Figaro quoted Arnaud Montebourg, the country’s Minister of Industrial Renewal, as confirming that the business has every right to restructure, a position which represents a U-turn from critical comments he originally made when Sanofi first mentioned the job losses.

Montebourg informed Le Figaro that the French government will agree to the reorganisation if unions are in agreement.  He noted that when an organisation has made profits of 5 billion euros, “it has the right to reorganise.”  However, the minister stressed the importance of negotiations with work councils and added that if discussions are not successful, the French government “will re-examine the Sanofi case.”

Exactly how amiable talks with the unions have been is questionable after the public statements by leaders.  There have been a number of protests so far by Sanofi employees and strikes have been threatened.

Chief executive Chris Viehbacher has repeatedly spoken about the fact that the business’ French R&D units have not come up with enough molecules to counterbalance the substantial patent cliff the company has faced, following the loss of patents on key drugs, notably the blood thinner Plavix, the antihypertensive Avapro, the cancer drug Taxotere, and the antithrombotic Lovenox.


Industry News