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GSK planning job cuts at Quebec vaccines plant

Published on 18/10/11 at 10:40am

GlaxoSmithKline has decided to cut around 9% of its workforce in Quebec City, Canada, with a vaccines manufacturing plant bearing the brunt of the layoffs, according to local news reports.

Citing information from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Press reports that GSK is planning to cut 60 skilled positions in Quebec City, where it currently employs around 700 staff.

"We were open to consider constructive solutions to minimise job losses and at the same time meet the financial goals of our employer," commented Dominic Morin, president of the GSK employees' union chapter at CUPE. "They chose the easy way out: cutting jobs."

The Ste-Foy facility in Quebec City is "a key global influenza vaccine manufacturing site, supporting public health strategies in Canada, the US and worldwide", according to GSK, with the capacity to produce 75 million doses of seasonal flu vaccines a year.  

In 2007 the company showcased as $199 million investment programme in the plant, and announced a further $90 million upgrade in 2009, funded in part with public money.

GSK has also said capacity for producing 33 million doses of a pandemic vaccine in a single month will be online from next year, and in March 2011 the Canadian government placed a 10-year pandemic flu vaccine contract with a value of more than $425 million.

Earlier this year the company secured support from the state government of Ontario for investment at its other Canadian manufacturing facility in Mississauga, which was linked to the creation of 70 new jobs and protection of 300 positions at the plant, according to the CUPE. 

Overall, GSK employs 2,700 people in Canada.

Phil Taylor

 

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