Drug giant to axe jobs

Job losses at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline have been confirmed as the group announced plans to ramp up cost savings by £1bn.

The firm did not reveal how many jobs would be cut from its 100,000-strong global workforce or the impact on UK staff.

But it said it was looking to increase annual cost reductions from £700m to £1.7bn by 2011.

The news comes just a week after fellow drugs group AstraZeneca said it was axing another 6,000 jobs by 2013 on top of the 9,000 already announced since 2007.

Glaxo has a number of UK sites, including its global headquarters in Brentford, Middlesex, and manufacturing operations in locations including Kent, Cumbria and Ayrshire.

Reports at the weekend suggested Glaxo was planning to shed 10,000 staff worldwide.

It has already cut 2,000 positions in the UK out of 10,000 roles axed globally since 2007, when it first announced a programme to cut costs.

Last autumn, it announced the closure of its huge plant at Dartford in Kent, where 820 staff are based.

Glaxo declined to confirm if further sites will be shut under the latest round of cost reductions, but said the majority of reductions would not be in the UK.

Glaxo said: "We are very conscious of the effect this programme will inevitably have on our employees and if options exist where we can achieve our financial goals and preserve jobs, we will do everything we can to do so.

"Where no other option aside from redundancy exists, we will support those employees affected in every way we can."

It added: "We will not be providing targets for job reductions and we will announce restructuring outcomes once employees, relevant works councils and trade unions have been consulted and informed." 

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