A laboratory in Switzerland where stocks of the Swine Flu antiviral drug are produced, is shut tonight after it emerged that staff there have demanded a 3,000% pay rise.
The lab closed down at 3pm today when 15 workers, mainly unskilled peons who put vials of the drug into cardbaord boxes, said they had had enough of working for 'peanuts', and walked out.
Maria Ditmar, a packer at the lab, said:
"We are working day and night to produce these medicines. The lab never shuts! Staff here are tired, and the pay is low."
Others agreed. Oskar Bauer, a driver, told us:
"The company is making millions of dollars from this drug. Why can't they pay us the correct salary? If they want to fight Swine Flu, they will have to pay us correctly."
The news comes as a major blow to the World Health Organisation, even with the current Swine Flu outbreak thought to be 'levelling out'.
WHO officials have asked Roche to act quickly to resolve the pay dispute, in order that worldwide stocks of the drug are available should the virus mutate into a far more deadly strain.