Adds PL, PN statements

Some 110 employees at Arrow Pharm in Hal Far are at risk of redundancy as a result of restructuring, mother company Actavis announced this morning.

Economy Minister Chris Cardona said as the news was made public that the government was committed to finding the workers an alternative job.

Activis said in a statement that: "Following the acquisition of Actavis by Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Actavis plc) in 2012, the company has been addressing over capacity and overlaps in its global operations. The announcement of the intention to restructure is part of the continued integration of the two global companies.

"The restructuring  is due primarily to a 50% reduction in  packaging volumes at the facility, as well as a drive to make the Hal Far site more cost competitive in the face of aggressive global competition within the industry," the company said.

"The company regrets to inform that approximately 110 employees in the Arrow Pharma facility are at risk of redundancy, as a result of the restructuring. The company is eager to minimise the number of employees impacted, through the possible inclusion of a number of Hal Far employees within any potential alternative vacant positions within the company.  Additionally, the company will support its employees with a comprehensive transition plan during this process."

Actavis operates two manufacturing facilities in Malta, in Bulebel and Hal Far, as well as a Commercial Sales unit for Malta and Africa. The company employs around 850 people on the island.

Workers at Arrow Pharm were told this morning that the packaging unit will close by November while the manufacturing units - which also saw some 40 dismissals last year - will be further restructured.

Actavis also dismissed some 60 workers when it closed down its R&D department last year.

The group's vice presidents for manufacturing and for human resources are currently in Malta.

Dr Cardona told workers in a message "this Government will not abandon you and is committed to finding you an alternative job, either in one of the companies already established in Malta or in one of the companies which shall be investing in Malta in the near future".

The government, he said, tried all possible routes to keep the company from taking this direction, but the decision dated back to November 2012, when Watson Pharmaceuticals took over Actavis.

He said that the government's economic policy was already giving positive signals and generating new jobs with an average 19 jobs per day being created in the past 10 months. He said that by the end of last year, Malta Enterprise had approved 80 new projects, 35 of which were based on Foreign Direct Investment.

In a statement, the Labour Party expressed its disappointment at Arrow Pharm's news and welcomed the announced that Hotel San Antonio would be employment 100 people following a €28 million investment.

The party said the Maltese economy was strong so much so that 5,000 new jobs were created in 10 months.

The Nationalist Party expressed concern at Arrow Pharm's decision and solidarity with the workers.

It appealed to the government to do whatever possible to intervene and help the company save these jobs. If they were not, it should help the workers find alternative employment.

The government should also create specific incentives in the manufacturing sector and encourage existing factories strengthen their investment in Malta. This was in view of the increase in unemployment confirmed by the ETC, the NSO and Eurostat.

It expressed its disappointment that it had to come to this for the government to acknowledge the problems it was facing but said it would be much worse if the government swept the problem under the carpet and acted as if nothing had happened. Maltese and Gozitan families deserved better, the PN said.




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