The company announced that these changes are a result of its transformation plan, which will see GSK split its consumer healthcare business from its core operations.
According to the company, the ‘new GSK’ that will be formed following that separation will see it focus on R&D operations, particularly on immunology, genetics and new technologies.
Concurrently, the company said it will increase its investments in R&D and the launch of new products, with the transformation aiming to “reinforce a common approach to R&D between the pharma and vaccine divisions,” with intensified funding and decision-making, especially on vaccines development.
GSK’s vaccine business in Belgium includes a site in Wavre, which is the largest vaccine manufacturing facility in the world, its head office and vaccine R&D site in Rixensart, and another facility in Gembloux.
In total, the company currently employs more than 9,000 people in its vaccine business in Belgium, where more than 2 million doses of over 30 vaccines are manufactured daily.
In the announcement, GSK stated that it plans to build on the automation of its production units in Belgium, in order to increase capacity – looking to invest more than €500m ($545.6m) over the next three years.
The 935 jobs that will be affected include R&D, manufacturing, and quality assurance operations, and are mostly management positions, according to the company.
Patrick Florent, managing director of GSK Vaccines in Belgium, stated (according to the translated release): “I understand the emotion that this announcement can arouse among our employees who make enormous efforts every day to ensure the availability of our vaccines to those who need them.”
He added that the company plans to discuss with the Belgian government’s regulatory bodies “the potential impact on the employees,” and suggested that the company “will ensure that the proposed changes are addressed in a responsible manner, in accordance with company values.”
Belgium will remain the ‘heart’ of the company’s vaccine operations, stated the executive, and added that GSK intends to “minimize the period of uncertainty, in consultation and collaboration with the social partners.”