By Dipo Olowookere
The management of Nigeria’s leading drug maker, Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited (Swipha), has confirmed the closure of its operations as a result of the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by its workers.
In March 2017, French pharmaceutical multinational firm, Biogaran, acquired Swipha Nigeria Limited with the aim to restructure and revitalise the firm.
The new owners, Biagaran, a subsidiary of Servier, came up with new policies, which Business Post gathered were not okay with some of the workers, who kicked against them.
As a result of this development, the aggrieved employees embarked on an industrial action in December last year to force the management to bend the rules.
Reacting to the issue on Friday in a statement issued in Lagos, Managing Director of Swipha, Mr Gaby El Khoury, stated that the policies were mainly to take the drug maker to the next level.
“Despite the tough economic situation in Nigeria, Biogaran, a subsidiary of Servier (the No. 2 French Pharmaceutical Group) that specializes in generics acquired Swiss Pharma Nigeria Limited (swipha) in March 2017, as part of its expansion plans to other African countries.
“Biogaran trusts in Nigeria and Nigerian people, and wishes to provide through Swipha to all Nigerians access to quality and affordable medicines.
“The decision to buy Swipha was taken despite the poor situation of the company which was at the period, short in cash and under threat of closure.
“Upon inception, the new management decided to lift the company up to its Group compliance and social policies, corporate governance and benefits for the employees.
“Management decided to restructure the organisation to ensure efficiency by removing superfluous staff and eventually align the firm with global best practices.
“However, some of these policies appear to be unacceptable to some members of staff who preferred to slow down, then to hinder operation and embarked on strike since mid-December 2017 while all efforts to make them have a rethink about a promising future proved abortive.
“To safeguard company properties and prevent any form of hostility the management decided to officially shut-down operations temporarily.
“The new management of Swipha strongly believes in Nigeria and is committed to its economic development and is resilient in its quest to engage modern new ways of working, best in class practices and high-level compliance standards, notwithstanding the financial loses the company may incur during this time.
“It is committed to doing all it takes to ensure that the company maintains and strengthens its position as a leader in the pharmaceutical sector,” the Swipha boss said in the statement.
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