German and Finnish unions fight against cuts at Nokia Siemens

09.02.2012

Finnish-German telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) said on February 7 a previously announced global restructuring plan would entail 2,900 job cuts in Germany and 1,200 in Finland.

GERMANY/FINLAND: On February 7 Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), the Finnish-German telecom equipment maker, said the company is going to cut 4,100 jobs in Germany and Finland. Earlier in November last year the company declared there would be 17,000 jobs slashed out of the 74,000 global workforce.

In Germany, NSN plans to close 30 of its Germans plants, including the biggest one in Munich, which has about 3,600 employees. The work will be concentrated in five remaining plants. Both IMF affiliate IG Metall and the works council have organized constant protests against the announced cuts. On February 1 public protests started in Munich with about 2,000 participants attracting significant media attention. Similar actions took place in several other cities including Berlin, Leipzig and Bruchsal.. Munich and the other threatened plants got full solidarity support including public protests from colleagues who are not directly affected.

IG Metall and the works council put forward the following demands to NSN:

  • deep analysis of the actual economic situation,
  • revision of the closure plans, especially for Munich as NSN's headquarters in Germany,
  • major changes in the management obviously responsible for the economic problems leading to the crisis in the company, and
  • active involvement of the former owner Siemens (holding 50 per cent of NSN) in finding a responsible solution for employment and the future management of NSN.

In Finland, the unions foresee two processes. The legal one is a round of negotiations inside the company between the management and shop stewards from the trade unions inside NSN which include IMF affiliates Finnish Metalworkers' Union, Trade Union Pro, Union of Professional Engineers in Finland (UIL) and Tekniikan Akateemisten Liitto (TEK), signatories of the collective agreement with the company. 

The second process consists of finding jobs and other possibilities for the affected workers through tripartite negotiations between the management, involved unions and the Ministry of Employment and Economy.

In Finland by the end of 2011 NSN employed 7,200 workers. The reductions will potentially affect 700 jobs in Espoo, 150 in Oulu and 350 in Tampere.