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28 October, 2019 09:23:05 AM

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Sanofi staff give 72-hr ultimatum for compensation

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Sanofi staff give 72-hr ultimatum for compensation

Employees of the multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi Bangladesh yesterday issued a 72-hour ultimatum demanding compensation as the company is going wind up its operation here. If the company does not compensate within the given date, the employees will go on symbolic hunger strike at company's headquarters on October 31, said the workers of the multinational company.

In terms of shareholding, French multinational company Sanofi owns 54.642 per cent of Sanofi Bangladesh, while Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) holds 19.962 per cent and the ministry of industries has 25.396 per cent of the ownership.

The company, in the first week of September, decided to wind up its Bangladesh operations after decades of producing key life-saving pharmaceutical products. The decision comes in less than 15 months after the departure of GlaxoSmithKline—another multinational pharmaceutical company— which had left Bangladesh as it found the market to be "not sustainable."

To protest the Sanofi’sdecision of leaving Bangladesh, the employees of the company yesterday formed a human chain in front of National Press Club in the capital to press their demand as the company has not made any promise to compensate them yet. Addressing the program, Anower Hossen, president of Sanofi Bangladesh Officers Development Council (SBODC)—a platform under which the officials of the company have gathered to press their demands— said: “If our demands are not met by Thursday, we would have to opt for tougher measures.”

Earlier, the employees of the company issued a 48-hour ultimatum on October 21 on the same demand; however the authorities concerned ignored their ultimatum.

He said, when a multinational company shut down their business, they usually offer a compensation package comprised of gratuity, provident fund and other benefits.

“From workers’ side, we have prepared a proposal for that compensation package and submitted that to the officials concerned, but we haven’t got any assurance on our proposal,” said Anwar.

He said another multinational company GlaxoSmith shut down their operation in Bangladesh last year and they gave their employees a compensation package.

“First of all, we demanded Sanofi not to wind up its operation as it has been a profitable entity for the last ten years. Then we were told that they would close down the business anyway, we asked for this compensation package.

Talking with The Independent, Majharul Islam, publicity secretary of the Sanofi Bangladesh Officers Development Council said, even though they are protesting and abstaining from work to realise their demands, but they are not creating any hindrances in the supply-chain of the Sanofi’s medicines.

There are many drugs of the company, which are popular in Bangladesh such as Avil tablet, Sefrad. Its life-saving drugs include taxotere, eloxatine for cancer, and lantus, apidra, insuman for diabetes.

“We are protesting as we have no option. Sanofi said it would handover its share to third party and the third party would ensure at least one year contract with all of Sanofi’s employees. But we are not sure about it because the new owners might not employ us at all. So we want a reasonable compensation package,” he said.

He said, Sanofi Bangladesh has around 1,000 employees and many local sellers are directly associated with the business in Bangladesh.

In 1960, Sanofi set up the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Industries Limited at Tongi of Gazipur in the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

After the independence, owners of the company left the country and it was then nationalised and renamed Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industries Limited before shifting the responsibility to the BCIC to operate it.

Later, the multinational company on business purposes changed the name of the production base on several occasions.

Sanofi-Aventis Bangladesh Limited was formed in 2006 after the merger of three multinational companies-Aventis Limited, Fisons (Bangladesh) Limited and Hoeshst Marion Roussel Limited.

As of December 2017, the paid up capital of the non-listed company was estimated at around Tk 36 crore while the total assets of the company have been calculated at nearly Tk 515 crore and the external liabilities are Tk 265 crore.

Bangladesh’s drug market has been expanding at a double-digit rate, reaching at around US$2.0 billion. Sanofi holds over 2.0 per cent shares in the booming local pharmaceuticals market.

BK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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