Nokia China has been accused by some of its employees of violating Chinese labor laws, after releasing new plans to cut the number of employees, the National Business Daily reported on Friday.
In a joint letter addressed to the Human Resources Department of Nokia China on Monday, 29 employees refused proposals by the company to terminate their job contracts.
The company, however, insisted that the job cut is "in accordance with relevant laws" and is poised to unilaterally carry out their plans.
Under Nokia China's job termination settlement, 170 company employees, all from the R&D and the Service Divisions responsible for its Symbian operating system, would be transferred to Accenture, a global technology consultant.
File photo shows a corporate logo is displayed at the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki in this picture taken Sept 29, 2010. Nokia, the world's largest phone maker by volume, will lay off 4,000 people and outsource another 3,000 to Accenture as part of a plan to slash annual spending by 1 billion euros ($1.46 billion). Nokia said it would outsource its Symbian software activities to Accenture, who will provide mobility software services to Nokia for future smartphones.[Photo: Agencies]
The affected employees can agree or disagree to work at Accenture but in either case their relationships with Nokia China would be severed once and for all.
The job reduction plans being carried out in China are actually a part of the company's global plans to reduce costs.
The market share of the once dominant Nokia group has been squeezed in recent years by Apple Inc.'s iPhone series and the smartphones that utilize Google's Android system.
The company reacted in April by announcing that it would be cutting its workforce by roughly 4,000 employees by the end of 2012. It will also transfer 3,000 employees responsible for its Symbian operating system to Accenture.
One of the main causes of the employee revolt is the manner in which the job reduction plans are being carried out in China.
According to employees affected by the job cut, the company disclosed no information before June 24 about its plan to cut jobs despite constant inquiries from its staff.
Then on July 22, the company announced plans to transfer its Symbian workforce to Accenture. 12 days later, the employees were informed that they had to make their decisions within 10 days if they wish to "accept" the terms offered by the company.
Laid-off workers said the 10-day reflection period they were given was too short. The laid-off Nokia employees in Britain, for instance, have 90 days to negotiate terms for a final settlement.
The affected employees also provided an emailed letter by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, which promised that all employees who were to be affected by the reduction plans could opt to remain on the Nokia payroll through to the end of 2011.
Employees say that what's happening in the China branch contradicts the company CEO's decision.
Zhao Zhanling, a legal expert in the IT industry, believes that Nokia China has violated the relevant procedures relating to layoffs, as required by the country's Labor Laws.
Zhao Zhanling said that as Nokia China is cutting jobs for economic reasons, it should inform its employees or unions 30 days ahead of the reduction and report its action to the relevant labor authorities.
However, Nokia China Advisory Director Gong Wenfei refused to call the job reduction "layoffs for economic reasons." This is a strategic readjustment of Nokia and Nokia has tried to offer affected employees new jobs, said Gong.