Astra Zeneca gives pink slips to execs, to reduce headcount by one-fourth | business-news | Hindustan Times
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Astra Zeneca gives pink slips to execs, to reduce headcount by one-fourth

A source still employed with the company confirmed that AstraZeneca has already fired 60 people in the past four months, and another 50-52 pink slips will be given out.

business Updated: Oct 01, 2016 15:02 IST
(PA)

On September, 23 at 7:53 PM, the human resource department of AstraZeneca Pharma India sent a letter to around 50 employees, inviting them to Bangalore to participate in a discussion regarding restructuring of the firm’s business.

The letter said the UK-headquarter pharma major has globally launched the “Focus to Win” initiative to align its resources with strategic objectives.

The mail had attached flight tickets, airport pickup-and-drop details, hotel booking receipts at Clarks Exotica Resort and Spa. Most of the invited employees were in the company’s sales department.

The invite seemed like a bigger professional opportunity, but on September 29, during the course of the discussion things turned upside down when employees were asked to resign. Two of them resigned, but the others resisted. “By the end of the day, the rest of them were sent resignation letters,” said Partha Rakshit, treasurer of Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association of India (FMSRAI), who was present at the venue.

“How can the company where I have been working for the past five years ask me to go away without any prior notice,” said an employee, who was sent his termination letter by email, after being given one-and-half months of remuneration.

A source still employed with the company confirmed that AstraZeneca has already fired 60 people in the past four months, and another 50-52 pink slips will be given out.

This news comes after AstraZeneca sold its antibiotics business to Pfizer in August, after the company decided to focus on its core area of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, respiratory and autoimmunity, and oncology. About 134 employees working in the antibiotic division are also likely to be laid off.

The lay-offs will bring down the firm’s total headcount of 1,200 by one-fourth.

“In line with the global strategy, AstraZeneca is consolidating its investments in India… We have implemented a number of initiatives which include prioritising investment, reduce discretionary spends, accelerating business capabilities and manpower rationalisation,” the company said in an email.

The laid-off employees, along with FMSRAI, will file a petition in court and a dispute order with the Labour Department. In order to protest against the company’s move, employees still working with the firm will go on a mass casual leave on October 3, confirmed Rakshit.