Merck reduce 1100 jobs close sites in Germany

Merck to reduce 1100 jobs and close sites in Germany

10:00 AM, 4th September 2012
Merck to reduce 1100 jobs and close sites in Germany
Dr Kai Beckmann, Executive Board Member/Human Resources, Merck.

DARMSTADT, GERMANY: Merck KGaA has agreed with employee representatives on an efficiency plan for the company’s operations in Germany. The efficiency measures are part of the company’s “Fit for 2018” business transformation programme spanning all businesses and regions in order to secure Merck’s long-term competitiveness.

As part of the programme, Merck plans to eliminate around 1,100 of the 10,900 positions in Germany by the end of 2015. The positions will be reduced in a socially acceptable manner, mainly through voluntary-resignation and early retirement programmes. Merck will refrain from forced redundancies until end of 2017, with the exception of possible site closures and transfers that are still being assessed.

“The discussions with Works Council members have given us a roadmap to position Merck Germany to prepare for the challenges we will face. Now, we need to consistently implement measures and continue moving ahead with the changes in our company,” said Dr Kai Beckmann, Executive Board Member/Human Resources, Merck.

“For the Works Council, it is particularly important that there will be no forced redundancies in Darmstadt and Gernsheim through the end of 2017 and we were largely able to avoid outsourcing of jobs,” added Heiner Wilhelm, Chairman, Works Council.

The efficiency measures for Germany comprise more than 100 individual initiatives spanning all businesses and functions. Outsourcing functions to external providers - a measure that had been considered - are not planned. The only exception, are activities that are already partially being outsourced to third-party suppliers, such as routine jobs connected to the approval of drugs (regulatory affairs) or jobs that require considerable manual labour, such as certain blending and filling activities in production. This will affect around 100 jobs. The company will focus on production for core activities that generate high value. In the area of financial services, specifically Merck Shared Services Europe GmbH (MSSE), Merck will refrain from relocating it abroad, at least until the end of 2015.

The production of industrial salts in Lehrte, Germany, as well as filling operations in Hohenbrunn, Germany, will be discontinued. A total of approximately 140 employees are working at the two sites. Further cost savings will be realized by a reduction in personnel costs as the result of a restructuring of the compensation system. Merck also plans to invest a total of at least €250 million at this location and other sites within Germany during the next two years. The Darmstadt site will be expanded further to become a R&D centre of excellence, with a tightly networked research and knowledge platform for both pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Merck announced its global efficiency programme at the end of February. The company has already begun implementation of some efficiency programmes outside Germany in recent months. For example, Merck announced in April that the headquarters of its pharmaceutical division (Merck Serono) would be moved from Geneva to Darmstadt.

© WOC News

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