Nokia workers accept severance pay after management ultimatum

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: Nov 1 2014, 14:59pm hrs
NokiaCurtains finally came down on Nokia after its last act on the Indian stage.
The curtains finally came down on the Finnish MNC Nokia after its last act on the Indian stage. Members of the Nokia India Thozhilalar Sangam (NITS) and all 850 employees finally agreed to the severance package put forth by the Nokia management at the tripartite meeting held at Sriperumbudur on Thursday.

As per the current agreed package, a worker stands to get Rs 6.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh depending on his experience, excluding PF and gratuity. They have also been assured of salary for the months of November and December.

Early this month, Nokia announced the indefinite stoppage of production at its Sriperumbudur plant from November 1, 2014.

It was an income tax raid and the Microsoft deal in 2013 had led to the eventual closure of the plant. The plant that had begun operations in 2006 had once been selected as the best mobile manufacturing unit of Nokia in the world.

After Nokia announced an option for VRS in April 2014 with one month validity, over 5,600 employees opted to quit the Nokia Chennai plant. After the announcement of closure, the manufacturing unit with a production capacity of over four lakh cellphones pieces in eight hours had reduced the numbers to 40,000 and a single model with production of major models shifted to Vietnam.

On Friday, the company had told the union that either it gets the consent of the workers for the settlement package or it would go in accordance with the government labour rules, which is 15 days of salary per every working year. That was a paltry sum and workers would stand to gain nothing, said V Natarajan, vice president of NITS.

With the Nokia management served an ultimatum to the union to convey their acceptance by October 31, the agenda of the hurriedly-called meeting on Friday evening seemed more to get the workers consent on the package rather than moot any discussion.