Teva is one of Israel’s largest companies and its decision to close an Israel-based manufacturing site and slash jobs has angered groups in Israel, who point the blame at debts that Teva has acquired abroad.
The half-day strike temporarily shut down airports, the stock exchange, banks and all government ministries, according to Reuters.
Some groups held rallies outside of the pharma company’s facilities, while others blocked roads across the country.
“We are fighting on behalf of Teva’s workers to save Israel’s industry … and to convey the message that layoffs are the last and not the first step in the public and private sectors,” Histadrut labor federation chief Avi Nissenkorn said, Reuters reported.
“It’s the state’s responsibility to prevent thousands of Israeli families from paying the price for this,” he added.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is reportedly planning to meet with Teva’s CEO, Kare Schultz.
“[Teva] employs thousands of workers,” Netanyahu said, according to the newswire. “It started as an Israeli company and we want it to remain as an Israeli company. We will use various means at our disposal to try and achieve these goals.”
Schultz has said that Teva will keep its headquarters in Israel.
Teva was strapped with $35 billion in debt after buying Allergan‘s (NYSE:AGN) Actavis generic drug biz for $40.5 billion in August last year. The two-year restructuring plan announced last week aims to cut Teva’s total costs by $3 billion by the end of 2019, out of an estimated $16.1 billion for 2017.