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Politicians and workers’ leaders in Finland reacted with anger and bewilderment at the news that 1,100 jobs in the country would be lost as a result of Microsoft’s plan to cull staff at Nokia’s former handset division.
Prime minister Alexander Stubb said he had known the outlines of the plan but learned the detail in a morning call on Thursday from Microsoft vice-president Stephen Elop. Microsoft on Thursday announced it would shed 18,000 staff globally, with the majority of the job cuts coming from the Nokia Devices and Services unit it acquired for €5.4bn.
Mr Stubb told reporters that he found the lay-offs “very, very difficult from a human point of view”. It was important not to sink into despair but to look to the future, he said.
In September 2013, its then chief executive Steve Ballmer appeared to suggest in an email to employees that Finnish jobs were safe.
“There are no significant plans to shift where work is done in the world as we integrate, so we expect the Nokia teams to stay largely in place, geographically,” he wrote.
But now almost a quarter of Nokia workers in the Nordic country of 5.5m people are facing the start of their summer holidays with the prospect of no job to come back to. Microsoft employs 4,700 former Nokia staff in the metropolitan area of Helsinki, and in Salo, Tampere and Oulu.
The company said it will withdraw entirely from its R&D Centre in Oulu, a city of 200,000 people on Finland’s northwest coast. The centre develops software for low-cost phones and employs 500 people. It would instead focus on the development of key technologies in Tampere and Salo, Microsoft said.
The news did not come out of the blue, senior Oulu shop steward Timo Pukinkorvaa told local media – there had long been rumours that something was afoot. What was shocking, he said, was the “massive” number of redundancies and the fact that the entire unit would close.
Microsoft anunció este jueves que suprimirá 18.000 puestos de su fuerza laboral en el mundo durante el próximo año, la mayoría como consecuencia de la integración de la unidad Nokia adquirida este año.
Un comunicado de Microsoft destaca que la decisión forma parte de “un plan de reestructuración para simplificar sus operaciones y alinear los aparatos de Nokia y los servicios de negocios a la estrategia general de la compañía”.
El recorte representa cerca de 14% de la plantilla total de Microsoft, de unos 127.000 empleados. La empresa contabilizará una carga de 1.100 millones de dólares por los costos de despidos.