Israel strike to stop flights at Ben Gurion airport


Jerusalem (AFP)

Israel's powerful Histadrut trade union said Ben Gurion airport will shut for four hours Sunday as part of a nationwide strike over plans by pharmaceutical giant Teva to shed employees.

Air traffic at the country's main international airport in Tel Aviv will be suspended between 0600 GMT and 1000 GMT, said Histadrut, which has called for a "solidarity" strike as well at ports, banks, ministries and other sectors.

Histadrut head Avi Nissenkorn said 1,750 employees will be made redundant by Teva as part of plans to slash 14,000 jobs globally over two years.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest producer of generic drugs, said on Thursday its reductions would be across-the-board and in all its locations.

The cuts would amount to more than a quarter of Teva's global workforce of over 55,000.

Teva has been saddled with debt after its $40-billion acquisition of the generics arm of rival Allergan was completed last year.

The acquisition has been accompanied by low prices for generics, particularly in the United States, a major market.

Nissenkorn, who has met with Teva management, has said that 1,250 employees in Israel will be sacked in 2018 and 500 the following year.

According to Histadrut, Teva has received $6.2 billion in tax reductions since 2006.