No set target for the scheme in terms of number of employees

Finnish handset maker Nokia, which is currently involved in two separate tax disputes with the Centre and Tamil Nadu Government, is looking to reduce its Chennai plant workforce through a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The company’s Chennai plant—which assembles low-end mobile phones—currently faces an uncertain future.

The plant, which was frozen by tax authorities last year, needs to be transferred to U.S software giant Microsoft before the end of April. Nokia has now offered a voluntary package to its Chennai facility.

When contacted, a Nokia spokesperson confirmed the development and pointed out that the company regularly reviews its global manufacturing strategy to “ensure the smooth and timely delivery of its products.”

“This process considers many factors including the predictability and stability of the regulatory environment in the countries where the company operates. We feel this package offers staff the chance to seek new opportunities outside the company based from a firm financial footing,” the spokesperson said.

“As a responsible employer, Nokia is offering a clear financial option for interested factory employees. All of the employees coming forward are entitled to the package,” the spokesperson added.

According to sources, there is no set target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees.

The Chennai plant’s employees have, in recent times, feared for their job protection. Nearly 2,000 employees staged a one-day hunger strike two weeks ago .

When contacted, Saravana Kumar, Nokia India Employees Union President, said that the union had not decided what to do as of yet. “We will meet with our counterparts and take a firm stand tomorrow,” he said.

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