Nokia staff to go on hunger strike on Monday

Nokia staff to go on hunger strike on Monday

Nokia employees have threatened that they would have to resort to a hunger strike in case the handset maker turns the Sriperumbudur, Chennai-based factory into a contract manufacturer or cuts output.

Nokia India has long been entangled in Rs 21,000-crore tax dispute with Indian tax authorities that forced the income-tax department to freeze the Chennai factory. On March 14, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court verdict over the manufacturing facility and ordered the company to give Rs 3,500 crore guarantee before transferring the facility to Microsoft.

As the two sides failed to reach a consensus, Nokia said it could either turn the plant into a contract manufacturer or close it altogether if it is not allowed to transfer the plant to Microsoft.

Nokia India Employees Union yesterday alleged that the handset maker had cut output at the plant from 13 million units a month to 1-4 million units a month, and shifted production of Asha phones to other countries.

A Soundararajan, honorary president of Nokia India Employees Union, said, "We won't accept any move from the company to either remain as a contract manufacturer for Microsoft or retrenchment."

He also revealed that they had plans to go on a hunger strike on Monday in Chennai to protest the company's alleged move.

Nokia's Sriperumbudur, Chennai-based manufacturing facility provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 20,000 people.

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