Nokia’s Chennai-based plant took another shake today when the head of the factory, Prakash Katama, quit. This decision comes after employees blamed Nokia for forcing them to take the retirement offer and leave the company. Katama will be replaced by V. Sembian, the head of product and process engineering at the unit.
“We can confirm that Prakash Katama (the factory head) is leaving the company, but will stay with us in a consultancy role for a fixed period of time,” a company spokeswoman told EFYTimes.
Following several tax disputes by Indian government over the infamous plant, Nokia quietly started shifting its equipment to its factories located at China and Vietnam. This sudden change downsized the production at the Chennai-based plant, leaving its employees uncertain of their futures.
Nokia offered, what it called, “an optional” retirement plan to its employees. However, as many workers claimed yesterday, they all have been asked to take the offer and leave the job. There has been cut in the transportation and canteen facilities, the workers claimed. “They (the management) urged the employees to take up the VRS saying they would cut down transportation facilities to 40 km from 80 km,” said an employee, who did not wish to be identified. “They said they have received instructions from Finland (the parent company) to cut down the overall costs.”
Now the company is denying any such claims. “We would like to clarify that we haven’t stopped bus or canteen facilities for our employees at Chennai factory,” the spokeswoman said. “Also, the voluntary retirement scheme is ‘voluntary’ for all factory employees.”
Quoting its sources, EFYTimes writes the company “has made available two offers: one for permanent employees and the other for its nearly 700 trainees. Over 200 trainees have opted for the offer which will give them Rs 2 lakh as well as double the salary for the number of earned leaves, they added.”
“I think all the trainees will opt for this offer as they have no other choice,” said a source close to the developments at Nokia India’s factory who did not want to be identified.Further reading: Chennai, Nokia India