Nokia Corporation (ADR)(NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s Chennai facility employees received support from Canadian author and Indophile Robin Jeffrey who believe that the factory has improved the life of the women in the nearby villages and is a much needed facility, according to a report from Economic Times. Chennai facility, which was due to be taken by Microsoft once it acquires Nokia device unit, is now in the middle of nowhere with workers in fear that they might lose their jobs.
Jeffrey Concerned about Women workers
Out of total 7,000 workers in the factory, majority of them are women. Jeffrey visited Chennai Plant few years back while writing his book “Cell phone Nation,” which was about the mobile phone revolution in India. The sight at the facility captivated him giving a feel of Europe and America just after the Second World War, where women started working in the factories for the first time. He said, “That was the first stage. Their daughters became feminist 20 years later.”
Jeffrey said, “If Nokia closes the factory or moves the plant elsewhere; it will be a very sad situation.” The reason he cited is the method used Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) India to recruit its employees was very persuasive and encouraging. He was told that employees were recruited from the villages around the factory instead of the city in the east. To Jeffrey it was intriguing to know that a girl who passed Class 10th got a salaried job, get dropped by Bus and be part of medical plan.
Jeffrey said that the move has created opportunity for the women liberalization, and the factory was a far better option than some appalling things people had to do for a living.
Still no clear sign on the fate of the plant
Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) is undergoing two legal battles one with state tax authorities and another related to royalties paid to its parent in Finland. Authorities have ordered the State government to review the matter from the start and directed Nokia India to deposit Rs. 240 crore within eight weeks.
As of now, Microsoft has hired Chennai facility and its workers on contract manufacturing basis and Nokia India offered VRS to the employees. However, Worker’s union at the facility is demanding a job guarantee and not VRS, but almost 100 of the workers have accepted the VRS.
Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) India employees have also sent written request to the Chief Minister of the state to look into the matter and assure job security.