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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

700 trainees opt for exit plan at Nokia’s Chennai plant

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 19, 2014
First Published: 00:13 IST(19/4/2014) | Last Updated: 02:34 IST(19/4/2014)

Finnish handset maker Nokia, struggling to shepherd its Chennai plant into its agreement to be bought by US software giant Microsoft amid tax disputes in India, has got some success with 736 of its trainees accepting the voluntary separation scheme.

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The management is set to extend the offer to its 6,600 permanent employees, as the employees’ union gears up to strike work on Monday.

“We can confirm we have launched a VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) at our Chennai, India facility,” the Nokia spokesperson said. However, the employees union has opposed the move.

The employees plan to go in for a Japanese-style strike on Monday. Some 5,200 employees will forego their free lunch and snacks given by the company, and also work during the break to register their protest against VRS scheme.

“As of now, the protest is only for Monday. Our next course of action — including the decision to continue will be made after the management’s response,” Saravana Kumar, president of Nokia Employees Union, told HT.

Nokia is involved in an income tax dispute with the central government and a sales tax dispute with the Tamil Nadu government. The disputes and the sale of Nokia to Microsoft have increased apprehension among workers that the VRS would be mandatory, though the company maintained that it was optional.

“We have set no target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees,” the Nokia spokesperson said.


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