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Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann encouraged some of the workers of Merck Serono in Geneva today, as they protested the planned closure of their firm’s headquarters.
Schneider-Ammann was speaking at the International Labor Conference, but told protesters outside the Place des Nations a priority was to keep as many jobs as possible in Switzerland..
He also said he was impressed by staff proposals to create new biotech entities in the Geneva region.
Employees voted yesterday to strike today, after they said management did not respond to those proposals.
A Merck Serono spokesman said the proposals would be considered, and a decision is expected next week.
The company announced it planned to move Geneva operations to Germany, costing the region 1,250 jobs.
About half of those workers would be offered transfers abroad, the company said.