The European Commission is looking to provide Sweden with EUR4.3 million to help 700 workers affected by AstraZeneca job cuts to find new work. The proposal is currently awaiting approval from the European parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers.
AstraZeneca announced plans earlier this year to axe approximately 7300 jobs worldwide. Almost 1000 of the job cuts will be in Sweden stemming from the closure of R&D sites in Lund and Umeå, and the limiting of operations in Mölndal and Södertälje. Of the 987 redundant workers, 700 who face the most difficulties in finding new jobs are being targeted for support. The estimated total cost of the support package is around EUR6.6 million, EUR4.3 million of which will come from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), which was established in 2006 with the aim of helping workers who have lost their jobs because of changing global trade patterns or the global financial crisis. Approximately EUR500 million is available each year to aid with job-search assistance, careers advice, tailor-made training and retraining, mentoring and promoting entrepreneurship.
In a statement, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, said, "The pharmaceutical industry is currently undergoing significant changes in order to retain its competitiveness in a tough environment, and it is therefore increasingly seeking synergies to hold down the rising costs of R&D activities. I am confident that this proposal for EUR 4.3 million from Europe's Globalisation Fund would help to make the workers' transition to new jobs easier and faster."
Since the start of its operations in 2007, the EGF has received 101 applications, with more than EUR430 million being requested to help around 90481 workers. Applications are being received for a growing number of sectors and an increasing number of EU member states.