Teva Pharmaceutical is to cut its global workforce by more than a quarter.
The generic drugs manufacturer employs around 600 people in Ireland, between its manufacturing plant in Waterford and a commercial operation in Dundalk.
The company, which is headquartered in Israel, is also to give up many of its manufacturing plants and suspend its dividend on ordinary shares in an attempt to pay back its massive debt.
In a statement on their website, it said these measures would result in the reduction of 14,000 positions globally, with the majority of the cuts expected in 2018.
There is no indication yet which individual plants will be affected, but the statement says most of the affected employees would be notified within the next 90 days.
Management in Waterford have told staff in an email that the situation was ‘fluid’ and they were attempting to seek clarification on some matters.
However, they say the losses ‘will affect every function and every manufacturing site, every R&D location and every office facility within Teva’.
It is understood the Irish plants have performed strongly in recent years. Teva is now the leading supplier of prescription drugs in the Irish market.
Management locally told staff: ‘The respiratory operation is confirmed as important for the future of the company so, whilst we expect some adjustment to the numbers employed, we are hopeful that we will not need to endure the major cuts such as other sites and countries will undergo’.
Workers at the Waterford plant will also not receive their annual bonus this year.