Nokia may shut Chennai unit, staff ready for VRS

Tags: News
The unresolved tax case and the resultant non-transfer of the Chennai manufacturing plant to Microsoft have left the future of Nokia’s facility outside the city hanging in a balance. Nokia has announced that over 5,000 of the factory employees have agreed to opt for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) introduced by the company a month ago. Only about 600 are left and the facatory’s order book has no visibility post June, sources in the know said.

“As a responsible employer, our effort was to provide a clear financial option, which offered employees the chance to seek new opportunities outside the company based on a firm financial footing,” a statement from Nokia said.

“While we set no target for the voluntary retirement scheme in terms of the number of employees, we have more than 5,000 employees opting for the scheme. Additionally, to support the employees that have taken up the VRS package, we also introduced the bridge initiative under which we are offering banking consultancy services and employment outlook trainings.”

The scheme ended on Wednesday but there is still no word of a settlement, said E Muthukumar, district secretary of CITU. The body is one of the unions operating in Nokia. “Employees have been offered packages ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh. Nobody knows when the money will come in,” he added.

Post the Microsoft deal the factory had orders to manufacture about 2 million handsets per month for two months. The order ends in June and there is no visibility post that. With only a meagre fraction of the employees left out, the future seems bleak, he pointed out. The factory may seize to function post June, he added.

Nokia officials could not be reached to ascertain the possibility. They are virtually quarantined from the media while the integration process is underway.

However, the company said in its statement that it is introducing new initiatives under its bridge training programme to support the employees. The initiatives would include skills training for employment in 30 different industries such as garment, automobile and hospitality.



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