Pfizer’s $3.5 billion cost-savings drive has made its way overseas.
After job cuts hit several sites in the U.S., the pharma giant is reducing the headcount at one of its Irish manufacturing plants in Newbridge, Kildare, by 100 employees. The staffers worked on production of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid, the company confirmed in an emailed statement.
“Onsite operations were expanded in 2021 to meet pandemic needs but, considering the lower-than-expected utilization for our COVID-19 products, production is now scaling down in line with customer demand,” a spokesperson said.
While the company anticipates “further changes” through its “wider realignment program,” Pfizer forecasts overall growth in its Irish manufacturing operations through 2024.
For one, 230 new roles will be added between Pfizer’s sites in Grange Castle, Dublin, and Ringaskiddy, Cork, RTÉ reports.
The Grange Castle plant currently produces the active ingredient for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine Comirnaty, while Paxlovid’s active ingredient is made in Ringaskiddy and made into tablets in Newbridge, according to the Irish broadcaster.
At the end of 2022, the company divulged a major investment at its Grange Castle site. Pfizer said it “remains committed” to the expansion, which should add between 400 and 500 jobs there by 2027.
Still, the layoff plans in Newbridge have already come under fire from a local union. Ireland’s Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union plans to seek a meeting with the company in hopes of reducing or avoiding the layoffs altogether, according to RTÉ.
Meanwhile, the Ireland cuts follow a similar round of 200 layoffs at Pfizer’s plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The company recently announced a cost-cutting spree designed to save $3.5 billion by the end of 2024.
Elsewhere in the U.S., Pfizer is planning to close its Peapack, New Jersey, site by early 2024, a company spokesperson said last month. Many of the workers affected by the move will transfer to other nearby sites, the company added.