The Chennai plant, which was set up back in 2006 when the company was doing well, employs close to 7,500 people.

Finnish firm Nokia, which recently sold its mobile unit to U.S software giant Microsoft, has reduced the workforce at its Chennai plant by around 5,000 employees through a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).

The Chennai plant, which was set up back in 2006 when the company was doing well, employs close to 7,500 people. Out of this 7,500 employee base, close to 5,000 people have now opted for the VRS scheme, which Nokia had introduced last month as a cost-cutting measure.

The scheme, which promises a firm financial footing to all employees who choose to take it up, was valid until May 14, and, therefore, came to an end on Wednesday.

According to sources, the plant’s workers want the company to extend the scheme to give time for the Tamil Nadu Government to further assess the situation.

The company’s Chennai plant became the focal point of a multi-million dollar tax dispute earlier this year, and was consequently blocked by tax authorities from becoming a part of the Microsoft deal.

Nokia currently operates the plant as a contract manufacturer for the U.S software giant.

The plant’s workers have faced an uncertain future since that time. and have repeatedly protested against their contract manufacturing fate, which they claim will give them reduced job security.

“While we set no target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees, we have about 5,000 employees opting for the VRS scheme,” the company said in a statement.

“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 statement added.

The situation over the last four months has caused a great amount of stress to the company’s workers, with several suicide attempts having taken place over the last month.

The company, on Wednesday, also laid out the details of its famed Bridge programme and how exactly it would help the Chennai plant workers. According to a statement, Nokia will work with industry experts “to identify new employment areas, developing suitable trainings and skill employees based on their areas of interest.”

The company will also provide “limited Bridge grants” to support the entrepreneurial or academic ambitions of employees that have worked with Nokia for six years or more.

“We expect to conduct awareness sessions to share information and insight into over 30 different skill development modules and employment outlook trainings across industries such as automotive, retail, hospitality & beauty care to name a few,” the company said.

“These trainings will be held over a period of time at around 40 locations in Tamil Nadu, including Chennai,” it added.