GENEVA, August 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Merck Serono will offer additional benefits aimed at providing greater support for the most economically vulnerable employees and facilitating the redeployment of employees made redundant
Merck Serono announces that an agreement was signed today by the Company's management, Geneva employee representatives and the Unia labor union, putting an end to the labor dispute affecting its sites in Geneva and the Vaud canton (Aubonne, Coinsins and Corsier-sur-Vevey) with regard to the restructuring of its activities in Switzerland. This agreement was concluded under the aegis of the Geneva State Council. It was approved by the general meeting of Geneva employees today and will be submitted to the general meetings of Vaud employees from the other sites outside of Geneva in the next few days.
"We are pleased to have been able to conclude this agreement, which is the fruit of a lengthy, sometimes difficult, but always constructive dialogue and of efforts made by each of the parties concerned to put an end to the conflict," said François Naef, Chairman of Board of Merck Serono S.A. "Employees will now be able to devote all their energy to their professional futures, whether within the Company for those who will be transferred to another site, or outside it. Whatever their situation, we will continue to do all that we can to support them over this transitional period."
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will offer benefits to all employees impacted by the restructuring of its activities in Switzerland that will be additional to those offered after the conclusion of the consultation period. In particular:
- A minimum guaranteed amount in severance pay (CHF 25,000 minimum);
- An additional severance payment for employees who are 50 years old or more, including employees eligible for early retirement who would not elect this option due to economic reasons;
- Maintaining full severance pay for employees who resigned in the three months preceding the anticipated date of their severance;
- A special fund of CHF 500,000 for cases of extreme hardship, in particular for laid-off employees who find themselves in a particularly difficult financial situation as a consequence of the closure of the Geneva site;
- A CHF 2 million contribution to a fund implemented and managed by cantonal authorities to alleviate the impact of the closure of the Geneva site on the local employment market and to support individual redeployment through a number of measures and programs;
- Employees made redundant will not be required to work during the last month of the notice period so as to enable them to concentrate on looking for a new job.
These additional benefits reinforce the improvements that the management of Merck Serono had proposed as part of the conciliation procedure carried out by the Geneva Chambre des Relations Collectives de Travail (CRCT - Collective Labor Relations Board), aimed to provide additional support to the most economically vulnerable employees. As part of the agreement, these benefits have been complemented by further measures aimed at facilitating the search for a new job and the redeployment of those employees made redundant.
Employees who have already received their redundancy notices will be eligible for these additional benefits.
These benefits will be added to the measures of the current social plan, which notably include:
- Severance pay based on length of service with the Company (one month's salary per year of service; a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 12 months' salary);
- A job-to-job program for employees made redundant (outplacement program of variable duration depending on the current level of the post);
- The possibility of taking early retirement with better conditions from the age of 56.
Furthermore, Merck Serono is pursuing its efforts to find redeployment possibilities for its employees, in particular:
- Discussions with its partners;
- Contacts with other companies that are active in the region;
- The Entrepreneur Partnership Program to help employees to set up companies, making available a fund amounting to EUR 30 million;
- Participation in the task force set up by the Geneva State Council.
Some initial results have already been announced relating to these various initiatives, including:
- The Quintiles Company, one of Merck Serono's partners in the field of biopharmaceutical services, has undertaken to make at least 100 job offers to Merck Serono Geneva staff;
- Job offers by other companies are available on Merck Serono's Intranet site and an employment forum will be organized on September 11-12, 2012 in order to facilitate contacts between Merck Serono employees and companies offering jobs in the region;
- As part of Entrepreneur Partnership Program, a first company, Prexton Therapeutics, has been established; several other projects are at an advanced stage of evaluation; employees can still continue to submit projects for creation of new companies up to September 30, 2012.
About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.
Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and rheumatology.
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of €10.3 billion in 2011, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.
SOURCE Merck Serono S A