GENEVA, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The final meeting of the conciliation proceedings between the management of Merck Serono and, representatives of the employees and the UNIA trade union, was held today. The proceedings, conducted by the CRCT (collective labor relations branch), were started on July 3, 2012.
The management of Merck Serono regrets that the conciliation proceedings did not result in an agreement to implement a number of additional benefits that were proposed.
The management of Merck Serono participated in the conciliation proceedings with the objective of continuing the dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and evaluating options for solving specific challenges of the Geneva closure that were highlighted by the employee representatives. To this end, the management of Merck Serono was ready to make additional efforts to further improve its already very competitive social plan. The additional measures proposed in the context of the conciliation proceedings aimed at providing stronger support for the most economically vulnerable employees and included the following:
- 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 for 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 1 million contribution to a fund implemented and managed by Geneva cantonal authorities to alleviate the impact of the closure of the Geneva site on the local employment market through a number of measures and programs.
As acceptance of the proposed measures mentioned above was rejected in today's general employee assembly, the social plan remains unchanged and is implemented in its original scope. The management of Merck Serono is willing to maintain the dialogue with employee representatives about implementation aspects of the social plan.
The majority of employees have by now had one-on-one discussions to clarify their individual situations. Merck Serono hopes to clarify any remaining uncertainties regarding certain personal circumstances as quickly as possible.
At the same time, Merck Serono is participating in the task force established by the Geneva Council of State, and management is continuing its efforts to find redeployment opportunities for employees, with initial results already announced (Quintiles is committed to offering at least 100 positions over the next three months to Merck Serono employees presently working in Geneva).
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