Takeda’s labor turmoil goes to extremes amid rumored unit sell-off

Kim Yun-mi  Published 2019.11.07  16:10  Updated 2019.11.07 16:10


Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea’s conflict between labor and management is rising to its peak, as the two sides tell extremely different stories over a rumor that the company might sell the “primary business unit.”

Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Union at Takeda Korea held a rally to protest the management’s coercive actions against the union and block the move to close the business unit.

The labor union claimed that the company unfairly dismissed Kim Young-buk, the leader of Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Union at the drugmaker, on Oct. 30, using Kim’s situation as a pretext for sacking him.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea’s unionized workers hold a rally in front of the company headquarters in Seoul, Thursday, protesting the dismissal of the union leader Kim Young-buk.

In response, Takeda Korea immediately released an official statement, saying Kim was dismissed because he wielded verbal violence and serious physical threats against the head of a business unit during a formal event where many employees were present.

“We are having a deliberation on Kim again this morning (on Thursday). We will review the issue as thoroughly and fairly as possible,” the company said.

However, the trade union was skeptical about the possibility of the company’s reversal of Kim’s dismissal. “The management has already set up a legal team to respond to the sacking of Kim. Depending on the result of the review, we will take legal actions immediately,” the union said.

The labor union refuted the company’s claim, saying the company event was not an official one, and that Kim’s appeal should have been settled between the related parties, not by the company’s intervention.

At the rally, workers also demanded the company stop trying to close a business unit.

However, the two sides have radically different arguments over the rumor of selling a business unit.

A rumor is widespread among workers that the company is near selling the primary business unit, which is in charge of chronic disease business. The labor union claimed that the company had already mentioned which local company could purchase the unit. The name being mentioned as a buyer is Samsung Bioepis.

“The unit sale rumor came out from the mouth of the head of the business unit. Samsung Bioepis was mentioned as a buying company, and the unit executives had explicitly told every detail of how the unit’s workers could retain their jobs,” the labor union claimed.

It added that some workers heard the rumor from doctors at hospitals they frequent as part of marketing activities, emphasizing that the rumor was true.

However, the company flatly denied the allegation, saying it has never heard of such a story.

Samsung Bioepis also made a similar comment. “We have never discussed anything about the selling of Takeda’s primary business unit. The rumor probably came out because we are involved in one of Takeda’s pipelines,” Samsung Bioepis said.

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