With the 5.4 billion euro Microsoft-Nokia transaction finally coming to a close on Friday, the Finnish firm set about damage control, promising to bring in some elements of its famed Bridge programme to the employees of the Chennai plant.

Nokia’s Chennai plant, which employs close to 7,500 people, was dealt an ignominious fate on Friday after the company failed to resolve two tax disputes that prevented a transfer. Many of the plant’s workers feel that by becoming a contract manufacturer, their job security will take a hit.

The Bridge scheme, which was introduced way back in 2011 when the company had to start letting go some of its technical talent, supports the company’s employees and helps them find a new job.

It also offers an entrepreneurial steam, with the programme leading to start-up funding, transfer of technical skills, as well as exposure to angel investors.

“The [Chennai] facility remains part of Nokia following the closing of the transaction. Amid the uncertainty for our employees in Chennai and because of the planned closure of our facility in Masan, Nokia plans to offer a programme of support, including financial assistance,” the company said in a statement. “The company plans to bring to Chennai elements of its Bridge programme, which we have made available for employees affected by company changes in other sites,” the company added.

Industry observers, however, are unsure of how the Bridge scheme will help the Chennai plant’s workers, who are primarily unskilled employees, with most of them just having a basic education.

Customer warranties

Microsoft will honour all Nokia customer warranties for existing devices, beginning April 25. It will absorb about 25,000 employees, who will be transferred globally from Nokia.

Welcoming the completion of the deal, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reiterated the focus of the Redmond-headquartered firm on a “mobile-first, cloud-first world,” according to a statement from Microsoft. “With the Nokia mobile phone business, Microsoft will target the affordable mobile devices market, a $50 billion annual opportunity,” it said.

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