With the pandemic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic, had to do a lot of work. For example, the institute issued the first approval for a Covid-19 vaccine in winter 2020. The workload for employees is high, but employees already reported problematic work relationships before the pandemic.
A termination in May 2019 caused a dispute and was taken to court. It was about a 59-year-old woman who had worked for the company for 18 years, like that “NZZ” reported. During the proceedings, the employee stated that she was “shocked and in no way prepared” about the dismissal. Six weeks before the dismissal, the person concerned had an interview with the supervisor, she was not warned about a dismissal.
Accordingly, this should be regarded as unjustified and abusive. Ultimately, this was also the opinion of the Federal Administrative Court. It sentenced Swissmedic to compensation of over 47,000 francs. However, this accusation was not an isolated case.
“Unfortunately not an isolated case”
Such events can occur with well-known employers on the scale of Swissmedic. But according to Fritz Bütikofer, Head of the Central Region at the Transfair staff association, Swissmedic seems to have problems with several employees. “It is the only case that has landed in court, but unfortunately it is not an isolated case. On the contrary: I see a certain system, ”he says to the NZZ. From the past three years, Bütikofer knows of around ten to twelve cases where employees left Swissmedic out of dissatisfaction.
The trade unionist recognizes a similar pattern in the cases: Former Swissmedic employees complain about a rough and unconstructive tone. The management culture is also vertical and overly hierarchical. According to Bütikofer, especially since Raimund Bruhin took over the board of directors.
Swissmedic takes the criticism seriously
Several employees who are currently employed by the authority confirmed the allegations to the NZZ. “If I understand a lot more about the subject than the person in front of me and this person appears condescending without showing any willingness to learn, that is an intolerable situation,” says a Swissmedic member who has been with us for many years. Another person said that their unit was more or less paralyzed at times due to the tense relationship with the manager and the resulting departures.
Swissmedic rejects the serious allegations. With the high number of around 490 employees, it is “possible that some of the topics mentioned may be in the room”. The authority takes criticism from former employees very seriously: “Swissmedic takes criticism of the working atmosphere and tone and lack of appreciation seriously and approaches them with the aim of maintaining and developing a constructive working environment.” Feedback to superiors has been an integral part of employee appraisals for years. Employees can also contact the HR department or an external ombudsman directly. (knr)