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German union IG BCE secures guarantees as Bayer set to slash jobs

13 December, 2018IndustriALL Global Union’s German affiliate, IG BCE, has signed a joint declaration with Bayer in Germany, providing protection for workers against dismissal until the end of 2025. The pharmaceutical giant is set to cut around 12,000 jobs worldwide. 

Bayer will also sell off its Scholl foot-care business and Coppertone skin care range, alongside its animal healthcare division. 

"We have ensured that employees are protected against redundancies until the end of 2025. In addition, there are guarantees for the workforce in the subsidiaries for sale, while firm commitments for investments in the German locations provides a viable foundation for averting undue hardship for Bayer employees during this time of uncertainty,” said IG BCE President Michael Vassiliadis to German media. 

The job losses will impact around 10 per cent of the company’s workforce, affecting a "significant number" in Germany where it has around 31,000 employees. 

The announcement comes after a fall in Bayer’s share price by more than a third this year after a take-over of Monsanto. A historic US court decision in August 2018, ruled that Monsanto’s weedkiller ‘Roundup’ had caused a man’s cancer, leading to thousands more lawsuits against the company.

More than a thousand Bayer workers staged a demonstration against the job losses on 30 November at the company’s biotechnology plant in Wuppertal, West Germany, where at least 350 of the 12,000 jobs are set to go. 

“This is a very radical decision by Bayer to cut one in ten jobs throughout its operations. It is not fair that workers are asked to pay the price for changes that they have no control over,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL. “IG BCE has importantly secured a guarantee for its members through a joint declaration to protect the rights and living standards of the affected workers and their families.”

German-based Bayer acquired Monsanto in June 2018 for US$63 billion creating the world's biggest seeds and pesticides company. Bayer plans to focus on pharmaceuticals, consumer health and crop science.