Swedish trade unions brand AstraZeneca takeover as ‘sc...

Swedish trade unions brand AstraZeneca takeover as ‘scary’ and a ‘risk’ to science

18 May 2014

Swedish unions, representing workers at AstraZenca’s sites in Sweden have expressed deep concern over the proposed takeover by Pfizer, saying Pfizer’s track record was ‘scary’ and the proposed takeover posed an imminent risk to science because of a refusal to offer guarantees over jobs.

The move echoes concerns from British trade unions Unite and GMB as opposition to the deal mounts. In a strongly worked statement, the Swedish trade unions, Unionen, Akademikerföreningen and IF Metall said: “We are deeply concerned over the negative consequences that a takeover would cause our members and the Swedish life science cluster.  

“Substantial economic and medical values could be lost if we are not allowed to continue to work undisturbed to realize the huge potential in our research portfolio.  

“Pfizer’s historical track record on mergers and acquisitions is quite scary. Takeover after takeover has been followed by redundancies and closures all over the world.  

“It is enough to look at what happened after Pfizer bought Pharmacia in 2003; the Swedish operations are dramatically scaled down, and today only a fraction is left.”  

Highlighting a refusal by Pfizer to offer guarantees on jobs, the unions went on to say: “The risk is imminent that both research and development, as well as production will move from Sweden if Pfizer’s’ hostile takeover of AstraZeneca is successful.  

“Pfizer management has promised to secure jobs and research and development in Great Britain. In Sweden there is no such promise and the management has neither met with us, the trade union representatives, nor the government.  

“This is not a way to act as a responsible company, according to our point of view.  

“We are fully convinced that it is of crucial national interest to secure a strong and independent AstraZeneca. Pfizer has not presented anything showing us that a takeover would be in the interest of our members, our colleagues all around Europe or the Swedish life science cluster.”  


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1

Notes to editors

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
The statement from the Swedish trade unions was signed by the following:
·         Eva Cederwall Finn, local trade union president, Unionen, AstraZeneca Södertälje
·         Kari Elderot, local trade union president, Ledarna, AstraZeneca Mölndal and Södertälje
·         Mikado Hansson, local trade union president, Unionen, AstraZeneca Mölndal
·         Sofia Johannesson, president Akademikerföreningen, AstraZeneca Södertälje
·         Martin Lindsjö, president Akademikerföreningen, AstraZeneca Mölndal
·         Benny Hygrell, IF Metall local trade union president, AstraZeneca Gärtuna
·         Milan Bogicevic, IF Metall local trade union president Metall, AstraZeneca Snäckviken and European Works Council president of AstraZeneca.