For the FGTB, which lodged a strike notice last week, protest actions are expected if there is no progress in discussions with management. For its part, GSK affirms that these relocation decisions have not yet been taken, and that these intentions do not call into question the importance of the group’s Belgian sites. The “external communication” director of GSK, Élisabeth Van Damme, specifies that the relocation of the production of the hepatitis B antigen from Wavre to Singapore or from the Rixensart animal facility to Siena in Italy, mentioned by the FGTB, It is only at the stage of the feasibility study for the moment. This reflects an intention but currently, no decision has been taken and when it will eventually be the case, these movements will not materialize before 2025.
“Belgium remains extremely important for GSK, we have invested 600 million euros there in recent years: R&D continues at our historic site in Rixensart, and in Wavre, we have the largest vaccine production site in the world. What is changing is our business: if some activities go elsewhere, others may happen, such as the production of future vaccines against a respiratory virus or against meningitis, or the production of a Particular adjuvant. We also announced a month ago our collaboration with CureVac on the Wavre site. Our sites are large, movements can occur in both directions “, indicates Elisabeth Van Damme.
On the FGTB side, it is stated that from experience, when feasibility studies are undertaken, there is hardly any possibility of going back. And we therefore fear for employment on the sites of Wavre and Rixensart, while the restructuring of 2020 is not yet finalized. “The management says that there are planned investments, we are dubious. We will see what will emerge from the discussions but on our side, we are determined not to let ourselves be done”, affirms Ludovic Calonne, the main FGTB delegate for managers and employees.