10,000 face Glaxo's axe at Wellcome

Glaxo has signalled the start of its surgery on Wellcome with a general redundancy warning that could see 10,000 jobs cut at an estimated cost of pounds 800m. Richard Sykes, Glaxo chairman, previously hinted the axe would fall largely on the scientific side of the anti-Aids drug- maker, which it bought in a pounds 9bn hostile bid three months ago.

At the height of the battle, trustees of the Wellcome Trust, which clinched Glaxo's victory by pledging its 40 per cent stake to the bid, received letters containing unidentified chemicals purporting to come from Wellcome employees threatened with redundancy.

Although the terms are believed to be generous and voluntary, fears of compulsory lay-offs are running high. The 500 research scientists at the former Wellcome research and development centre at Beckenham in Kent have been told they face face imminent removal to Glaxo's new pounds 650m facility at Stevenage in Hertfordshire. City analysts believe that around 10,000 jobs could be at risk as Glaxo removes overlaps and slashes costs at the combined group, taking the eventual redundancy bill to over pounds 800m.

Paul Talbot, national officer of MSF, the main union involved, said yesterday that worries among the 1,600 staff at Beckenham had been heightened by management's denial of a 5 June memo warning that research would be moving to Hertfordshire "as rapidly as possible" - in months rather than years. "It really is a very, very difficult situation there at the moment and there is a great deal of concern at what's happening."

He added: "As far as we know, nobody has been sacked or made redundant, but clearly there is a great deal of concern about these moves."

A Glaxo Wellcome representative yesterday admitted that a memo had gone out to Beckenham staff, but claimed it did not represent official policy. The final decision was in the hands of the research and development task force, chaired by Jim Niedel, Glaxo's research and development director, she said.

"A decision hasn't been taken by the integration executive on the location of research and development in the merged company. A decision will be announced as soon as a conclusion has been reached."

She also confirmed that there had been a general warning of redundancy in early May. Both the old Glaxo and the former Wellcome separation terms are on offer, with volunteers being offered the most suitable, depending on age and length of service. She emphasised, however, that no personal redundancy notices had been issued.

Mr Talbot, however, raised questions about the legal status of the general warning, which had been sent out without the usual involvement of the Department of Employment and consultation with the unions.

The latest developments are the most significant among moves to integrate the two companies since the bid went unconditional in March. Glaxo Wellcome has already announced that the closure of Wellcome's old headquarters in London's Euston Road will take place in September. It has also said Wellcome's operations head office will move in with Glaxo, which is based at Stockley Park, near Heathrow Airport, while UK distribution operations will be combined at Crewe, a former Wellcome site. But decisions about the bigger operations have yet to be taken. In all, Wellcome employed close to 4,500 people in the UK, while Glaxo's payroll totalled nearly 11,000.

News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Adam Lallana, Juan Cala, Andy Carroll and Cameron Jerome
sportThe latest news and scores
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit