With the fate of Nokia’s Chennai plant still up in the air, workers of the Finnish handset maker plan on staging a one-day demonstration next week to highlight the increasing job insecurity the company’s workers are facing.

Slashes output

According to several Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam (the workers union) leaders, the company has drastically slashed production at the Chennai plant and has also moved away most of the ‘Asha’ range of mobile phone production to other plants.

They also claim that the Chennai plant is also churning out only 4 million mobile phones a month as opposed to the 13 million phones it was doing earlier.

“We will step up or intensify our protest perhaps after the general elections are over. We will not allow not allow retrenchment of employees or the plant being operated as a sub-contractor to Microsoft,” said A Soundararajan, General Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Tamil Nadu, while addressing reporters here on Thursday.

“We plan on approaching and meeting senior government officials from the labour and industries departments soon. We urge both the Centre and State governments to make sure that the employees are taken care of,” he added.

The Chennai plant, which employs nearly 8,000 people, has become the focal point of a Rs.21,000-crore tax dispute. If the dispute is not solved before Microsoft finishes its acquisition of Nokia, the fate of the plant’s workers will be uncertain at best.

When contacted, a Nokia spokesperson said that the company would not comment on internal planning or production.

“We are a global company… we consistently look for ways to optimise production. We have worked in a transparent and constructive manner with the labour reps since the tax case and we will continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.


Nokia India workers stage protestApril 1, 2014

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