Last week there were reports in Waterford that there had been a difficulty with the TEVA workers’ redundancy situation. TEVA has two plants in Waterford and some of the activities in one of the factories are being moved to a lower cost location in Central Europe. TEVA is a successful company that was formerly known as IVAX when it employed over 600 people in Waterford making ‘out of patent’ medical aid drugs.
Such drugs are usually cheaper than the branded or patented variety made by huge multi nationals that would be household names. The management in Waterford at TEVA knows the challenges to be faced keeping plants going in Ireland as they compete internationally. The lower euro currency will hopefully help in the year ahead but the production from the Waterford factory that is moving will go to a non euro currency country, like Hungary.
It may not be widely known that while IVAX is American, TEVA is an Israeli company. Israel is in a diplomatic storm at present over the raids on ships bound for Gaza where a number of deaths unfortunately occurred. This has led to the Irish government having a major confrontation with Israel. An Irish ship tried to breach the embargo last weekend but was advised by the Irish government to go into an Israeli port and get the aid cargo transferred by the truck. While the two issues are separate, one is humanitarian and the other is trade, it is important to try and promote good relations.
Waterford would like to see a commitment to Teva from the owners in Israel and the government. Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin made loud noises last week against Israel. Perhaps it should be considered that some level of mediation could be considered by our government when a difficult situation exists in terms of reconciling staff and delivering certain job cuts. This is never a simple task, especially when there is so much unemployment.
Waterford needs the remaining TEVA jobs. Can someone in government please give this matter some care and attention? The government’s record in saving jobs in Waterford is not very good so how about a little effort on this front. It might make less headlines in international media for a Minister but successful negotiation and diplomacy could matter here.
A building firm had a problem like this and through mediation got it resolved. We would hope that similar success could be achieved again in difficult circumstances for everybody.