Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has urged the government to ‘bat for advanced British manufacturing’ as AstraZeneca rejected yet another approach from Pfizer.
News of the renewed bid is causing major concerns amongst almost 7,000 staff in the UK. Back in 2011 when Pfizer closed its world class research and development site in Kent at short notice, there was very little consultation with the 2,400 strong workforce. Coupled with weak employment laws it meant the UK lost valuable highly skilled jobs and research and development capabilities.
Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “Despite AstraZeneca’s latest rejection, Pfizer has its sights on this strategically important UK owned company. We’ve written to the business secretary Vince Cable asking for a urgent meeting to discuss our members’ concerns.
“AstraZeneca embodies the UK government’s vision of advanced manufacturing. We are not convinced that Pfizer’s bid is anything more than an attempt by a US company to reduce its taxes by buying into a UK owned company.
“We expect the government to bat for Britain’s advanced manufacturing base. It is in the national interest for this government to study this bid meticulously. Shareholders have no loyalty to the UK, and our corporate culture encourages this, whereas in other EU countries like France the government will act on takeovers if it feels it is not in the national interest.
“Despite warm words about Pfizer’s commitments to the UK we remain extremely concerned about the impact on jobs and the long term effect on research and development if Pfizer’s bid succeeds. When Pfizer closed its world class research & development site in Kent back in 2011 there was very little consultation and it was done at very short notice.”
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes for 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.