Even as the fate of several workers of handset major Nokia at its manufacturing unit here hangs in balance, the management has announced a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for them.
"As a global company, Nokia regularly reviews its manufacturing strategy to optimise and ensure smooth and timely delivery of its products. This process considers many factors, including the predictability and stability of the regulatory environment in the countries where the company operates," the company said in a statement.
"Following such a review, we can confirm we have launched a voluntary package (VRS) at our Chennai, India facility," it said.
"As a responsible employer, Nokia is offering a clear financial option for interested factory employees," it said, adding the company felt this package offers staff a chance to seek new opportunities outside the company, based on a firm financial footing.
However, the Finland-based company said it had set no target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees.
"All of employees coming forward are entitled to the package. Nokia notes that staffing at Chennai has historically fluctuated based on demand and number of external employees used, with the current figure at some 6,600 full-time employees," it said.
Recently, about 3,000 employees affiliated to Nokia India Thozhilalargal Sangam (Nokia India Employees Union) staged a one-day fast, seeking to draw the attention of the central and state governments to their plight.
Union sources claimed production at the Chennai plant, considered one of the biggest for Nokia, had declined from 13 million handsets per month to four million per month, besides which machinery had been shifted to countries like Vietnam.
"Production of phones like Asha range have already shifted to other countries and the plant which was operating in three
shifts has come down to two shifts," they said.