Employees urge Sanofi to pay benefits before handing stake | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 25, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:40 AM, January 25, 2021

Employees urge Sanofi to pay benefits before handing stake

The workers and employees of Sanofi Bangladesh Ltd have demanded the French multinational company provide all benefits to the staff before handing the entire stake of its local unit to Beximco Pharmaceuticals.

The Sanofi Bangladesh Limited Workers-Employees Association (SBLWEA) alleged SBL was exiting the country without giving any compensation to its employees.

In a statement, Sanofi Bangladesh, however, "Since the beginning of this process, Sanofi has consistently reaffirmed that our employees' interests will be integral in the final selection of the buyer of the stake in the company."

The briefing came after Beximco Pharmaceuticals announced on Thursday that it was set to acquire 54.6 per cent stake in Sanofi Bangladesh for about Tk 400 crore, as it looks to expand its product base and diversify into new areas.

With this, the French pharmaceuticals giant will exit Bangladesh ending its presence in the country that spans more than six decades, as it has been struggling to compete with local companies.

There are around 1,000 employees working in Sanofi Bangladesh.

Speaking at the media briefing at the Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital, Sanjib Kumar Chakraborty, general secretary of the SBLWEA, said, "Sanofi is leaving the country by selling its shares, but they are not willing to give any kind of financial compensation to its staff."

There is a clear intent to deprive all officers and employees of provident fund, gratuity, workers participation fund, pension and compensation, said Chakraborty.

According to him, in the past and in recent times, many international companies closed local operations or sold stakes. In each case, the companies paid appropriate compensation to their employees.

The trade union threatened that it would go for tougher actions to realise its demand.

"The trade union will never back down or make a compromise. We have clearly stated our in a letter to the country chair and the managing director and also set a deadline to meet the demands."

"We are deeply concerned that Sanofi management still unilaterally decides on the demands of the employees without any discussion with the trade union. Taking a unilateral decision on the demands of the employees without any discussion with the registered trade union is a clear violation of national and international labour laws," Chakraborty said.

Sanofi Bangladesh said, "While we had initially committed to 12 months of collective employment guarantee, Sanofi has now announced that its employees will continue on the current terms and conditions that exist today for three years from the closing of the transaction. The employees will also continue to have the same benefits."

"Furthermore, our employees' interests continue to remain important to the finalisation of the process."

Razequzzaman Ratan, president of the Socialist Labour Front, expressed solidarity with the trade union and assured that they would discuss with the International Labour Organisation about the demands.

Md Nuruzzaman Raju, president of the SBLWEA, also spoke at the press conference.

Sanofi owns 54.6 per cent shares of Sanofi Bangladesh, while the industries ministry holds 25.36 per cent stake and Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporations owns 19.96 per cent.

Sanofi has been operating in Bangladesh since 1958.

 

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