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Nokia workers allege forceful VRS, company denies

Last updated on: April 15, 2014 21:03 IST

Finnish handset major Nokia on Tuesday said the voluntary retirement scheme announced by the company for the employees of its facility near here is "optional" and is up to them to opt for it or not.

"We would like to clarify that the scheme is voluntary and it is up to employees to opt for it or not," Nokia said responding to allegations of employees that they are being forced to accept the VRS scheme.

"There are about 8,000 workers employed at Sriperumbudur Nokia facility, which has been scaling down its operations and the company had announced VRS for the workforce. But the management is compelling workers to accept the scheme has enraged them", an employees union leader earlier told PTI.

At the meeting held today, the employees affilitated to the Nokia India Thozhilalargal Sangam (Nokia India Employees Union), decided to seek the intervention of Tamil Nadu government to strictly direct the management to make the VRS scheme optional and not mandatory.  

 In the aftermath of Nokia-Microsoft $7.2 billion deal, the handset major had recently announced that it regularly reviewed its manufacturing strategy.

"Following such a review, we can confirm we have launched a voluntary package (VRS) at our Chennai, India facility," it had said.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to lift the restraint on sale of Nokia's Indian assets, including the Chennai plant, as part of the handset maker's global deal with the Microsoft.

If the Chennai plant was not transferred as per the deal, the facility would become a contract manufacturer of Microsoft for a year and employees too would become contract labourers.

"The management is asking to take VRS. For those employees who have rejected VRS, the company has already stopped transportation services", sources in the employee union alleged.

The employees had staged a one-day fast last month to draw the attention of the central and state governments to their plight. 

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