Sales employees protest unlawful job termination by AZ India

AstraZeneca India claimed that the terminations were due to the company’s evolving strategic priorities

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AstraZeneca (AZ) Pharma India has laid off 103 employees from its ‘primary care’ division. The pharmaceutical sales industry is experiencing a series of job terminations, the most recent one being at AstraZeneca (AZ) Pharma India Limited. The company proposed voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to all the 103 employees, where 52 employees accepted the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS). The other 51, however, refused it.

As reported by The Hindu, sources indicate the primary care division was in charge of selling two drugs, namely Betaloc, a beta blocker medication, and Imdur, which is used to alleviate anginal pain. The company is reportedly combining marketing efforts for these categories of drugs with other divisions.

AZ India claimed that the terminations were due to the company’s ‘evolving strategic priorities’. The company also blocked the official reporting portals of the 51 terminated employees and transferred the termination compensation directly into their bank accounts.

The FMRAI alleged that AZ India violated labour laws by terminating employees without proper consent. Additionally, they filed a complaint with the Labour Commissioner in Bengaluru. The agitated employees and representatives from multiple pharma companies also protested outside AZ India’s sales depot in Delhi.

To respond on the protest, AstraZeneca has released an official statement about the layoffs. The company acknowledged that the decision to let go of employees was not an easy one, but it was necessary to achieve the company’s goal of improving patients’ lives by advancing science and focusing on specialist care.

The company also stated that it will ensure a smooth transition for the affected employees and that their contributions over time will be appropriately reflected in the separation scheme. The company emphasised its commitment to improving healthcare and finding novel therapies to cure diseases.

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