Nokia to close Bochum, Germany, plant

Written by Associated Press | Berlin, February 22: | Updated: Feb 23 2008, 20:29pm hrs
The head of the workers' council at Nokia's plant in the western German city of Bochum said that the Finnish mobile phone giant plans to shut the factory on June 30.

Nokia last month announced that it would close its mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bochum, in the industrial Ruhr region. The likely loss of 2,300 jobs has infuriated German unions and politicians and led to calls that the Finnish company return some of the investment subsidies it received.

"Nokia is planning a quick end. They want lights out by June 30," Gisela Achenbach, who heads the plant's employee council, told reporters in nearby Dortmund.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia Corp said its target for closing the site was by mid-2008. The company added that no proposals had yet been made in talks with employee representatives.

Achenbach said the council plans to fight for the plant to remain open until June 30, 2010.

That would allow employees to maintain their contracts until the end of the year; then, an interim organization would be formed that would continue to employ colleagues who are having trouble finding a job.

"This is how we envision a socially acceptable shutdown," Achenbach said.

She said the workers' council is seeking severance pay for all employees.

Nokia Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo has apologized for the decision to close the plant but has said it was necessary, given that the factory makes 6 per cent of Nokia's handsets but accounts for 23 per cent of its global labour costs.