Nokia Chennai workers waiting to join Microsoft

Sajan C Kumar Posted online: Friday, Dec 13, 2013 at 0000 hrs
Chennai : The Chennai plant workers union — Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam — has expressed happiness over the Delhi High Court judgement allowing the Finnish mobile major to complete the deal with Microsoft.

Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam president M Saravana Kumar told FE that the union is satisfied with the outcome and looks forward to joining Microsoft. “We are happy that we could be part of the Microsoft deal, finally.”

He further said that the union has not been either against the I-T department or Nokia but simply wanted to be part of the global deal. “Now that the court has de-freezed the Chennai plant, our part is over and we can say that our intervention has been successful,” he said.

The union had moved the Delhi High Court with a plea that the Nokia Chennai plant, which has been freezed by the government as part of the I-T tax dispute, be part of Microsoft, post conclusion of the $7.2-billion deal.

It approached the Delhi High Court aggrieved by reports that, if the Chennai plant was not de-freezed before December 12, it would be kept out of the agreement.

The union had objected to the possibility of taking up contract manufacturing for Microsoft, in the event of completion of the deal without Chennai plant being included in the agreement. The union had also voiced dissatisfaction with the way Nokia handled the whole issue and raised the livelihood issues.

Nokia’s Chennai handset factory was set up in 2006 and is one of the largest by the Finnish company.

The factory employs more than 8,000 people and has produced 800 million phones. Its ancillary suppliers have around 20,000 workers, both direct and indirect. Nokia’s Chennai plant- the only manufacturing unit in India- plays an integral part in the company’s global manufacturing strategy. To date, Nokia has invested $ 285 million in its manufacturing operations in Chennai.

The plant had reported physical exports of Rs 12,136.54 crore from 2006-2007 to 2011-2012. Recently, Nokia had entered into a fresh agreement with the Tamil Nadu in November 2012 for expansion of its manufacturing plant with an investment of R250 crore over a period three years.