Teva, Unions Reach Wage Accords at Four of Its Israeli Facilities

But the pharmaceutical giant has yet to come to an agreement with striking workers at the Teva-Tech plant in the Negev.

While Teva Pharmaceuticals continues to negotiate over plans to lay off some 800 of its Israeli employees, late on Sunday management and the Histadrut labor federation reached wage agreements covering four of the company's Israeli plants and were close to an accord with a fifth.

The accords will grant workers at the four plants wage increases of as much 5.4% annually over the next five years as well as in some cases improved pension benefits and other perks, such as company-funded university tuition for children of employees.

The accords cover Teva facilities in Jerusalem, Assia plant in Be'er Sheva, the Netanya-based Abic plant for manufacturing raw materials and the company's flagship sterile plant in Kfar Saba, which makes the company's leading product, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone. The latter will receive the biggest wage hikes of 5.4% but the two sides are still holding out over pension terms, the Histadrut said.

The accords, as of Sunday, do not include five other plants, including the Teva Tech plant in Ramat Hovav, whose workers went out on strike 10 days ago. Talks with Teva management over a contract for Teva Tech workers began Sunday night, union officials said.

Sources at both Teva and the Histadrut said the negotiations over an agreement for Teva Tech, which makes the ingredients that go into Copaxone, were particularly complicated.

The plant's workers are demanding a 7% wage hike and a NIS 500-a-month supplement, much bigger than at other Teva facilities on the grounds that they work under more dangerous conditions. They assert that the average salary is lower than at other company facilities.

Management has so far resisted the demands. Teva Tech workers say the Histadrut has refused to pay them a stipend from the union strike fund since they walked off their jobs. The labor federation declined to comment.

Bloomberg