Nokia India rolls out VRS, staffers panic

Written by R Ravichandran | Chennai | Updated: Apr 16 2014, 10:50am hrs
Nokia India on Tuesday rolled out a month-long voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) at its manufacturing plant in Chennai. It is believed some trainee workers, on fear of possible retrenchment, have inquired on the nature of the scheme and consulted the management. A few trainee employees have also opted for the scheme, sources told FE.

Nokia India spokesperson confirmed the rolling out of scheme: There were some inquiries from trainee workers. As we said earlier, we need to bring down the manpower due to losses in production and we have thrown open the scheme. It is not mandatory and the scheme is open for a month. We need to engage the employees actively to take part in VRS as this is a crucial time.

The company had in March told the workers' union for a possible reduction in manpower due to lack of orders and accordingly announced a VRS for all the 6,600 employees last week.

M Saravanakumar, the president of workers union, said: We held an inconclusive meeting with assistant labour commissioner on Saturday. We are trying to protect the 750 trainee workers from a possible retrenchment. However, the time is running out and some of the trainee workers, out of fear, have started approaching management to opt for it. It remains to be seen how things shape up."

The union is still mulling over legal options. These workers have put in more than two-and-half years of service and will become permanent employees once they complete three years. But the management has decided to get rid of these trainee workers and, therefore, the scheme has been forced on them, he said.

Trainee workers have been offered three-month salary with Rs 2 lakh cash, he added.

We have told all the permanent employees not to accept VRS. We have sought a clarification from the management on our status. Based on the management's response, we will decide our next course of action, he added. The permanent employees have been offered 15-month salary and another Rs 1 lakh.