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Thermo Fisher workers fight for their jobs in Switzerland

25 April, 2017Thermo Fisher Scientific staff at Écublens in Switzerland will maintain strike action in response to the decision by the board of the company in the US to ignore a negotiated agreement with IndustriALL Global Union Swiss affiliate UNIA.

Some 130 staff members are taking part in the action.

The earlier agreement was negotiated with the help of the employment office of the canton of Vaud on 20 April, and met three demands of the union, namely:

  • UNIA must be recognized as a negotiating partner;
  • The consultation period must be prolonged till the end of May;
  • The company must provide all the elements needed for formulation of counter proposals regarding the site delocalization, as foreseen by law.

The US board of the company rejected the negotiated agreement and refused to accept any compromise. US corporate management did not provide reasons or justifications for their decision. This lack of dialogue and unfounded decision of the management pushed workers to continue their strike.

The first union action took place on 19 April after the company announced their plans to relocate production from Switzerland. The company site in Écublens specializes in the production of X-ray and optical emission spectrometers, and wants to move part of their production to Brno in the Czech Republic. This move would result in the loss of 106 jobs out of 165 in Écublens. 

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches sent a letter to the US board of Thermo Fisher Scientific and insisted that the company “address the legitimate demands of the workers at the plant in Écublens, and accept the locally-reached agreement, which takes account of the negotiations on the planned relocation of production from Écublens to Brno in the Czech Republic, the extension of the consultation period for the preparation of alternative proposals to this massive job loss, and the provision of the necessary information, and consultation.”

Valter Sanches also expressed full support and solidarity with Thermo Fisher Scientific workers and their representing union UNIA in their struggle for workers’ rights.