The CEO of Teva has rejected the government’s attempts to minimize the announced layoffs in the company, saying the plan will be executed fully.

Teva employees protesting in Jerusalem

Teva employees protesting in Jerusalem Photo credit: Israel News Company

Amid raucous protests over the announcement of mass layoffs in the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, CEO Kare Schultz told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that he is not backing down from the move, which he says is inevitable.

The plan to fire about 1,700 company employees in Israel and shut down major factories will “go forward as planned,” Schultz said during a meeting with Netanyahu and three of his ministers.

A source who was present in the meeting said Schultz “refused to show any flexibility.”

“Unfortunately, Teva is unable to consent to the request of the Prime Minister and ministers and avoid the closure of the plant in Jerusalem,” he said in a statement after the meeting. “The company will continue in the phased closure of the plant. These measures are painful, but absolutely vital.”

Schultz before the meeting

Schultz before the meeting Photo credit: Israel News Company

Schultz further warned that if the government tries to throw roadblocks in Teva’s way, it will make the situation worse and will lead to more layoffs.

About 1,000 employees protested in Jerusalem ahead of the meeting, holding up signs and blocking main roads in the city.