Germans boycott Nokia

Bonn city employees are giving up their Nokia phones in solidarity with the soon to be unemployed Bochum residents.

Last week, Nokia announced that it would close its mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bochum, Germany and move production to Romania. The action will cost 2,300 jobs and put an additional 2000 jobs with suppliers in danger.

The German magazine Stern conducted a study in which 56 percent of Germans said they would not buy Nokia phones in the future, which is a substantial threat to Nokia’s sales in the continent’s largest market.

The Bonn public utility company exchanged 400 Nokia mobile phones. The Berliner Morgenpost reported that director Hermann Zemlin believes that the behaviour displayed by the Nokia management should not be accepted.

Kurt Beck, who is chairman of the centre-left party, the SPD, told the Passauer Neuen Press, a local daily, “We here in Germany should not acquiesce. Those affected in Bochum have our full solidarity.” He added that politicians need to think about requirements for corporate subsidies, as well as a need for more consideration of effects of such financial incentives.

Former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho has criticized the boycott. He told the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, that the boycott is a “Typical and understandable reaction when jobs are lost in Europe. However, (such reactions) will not improve Europe’s global competitiveness.” He said that these measures would achieve just the opposite.

“Capital migrates from one place to another. Our goal must be to make this process as smooth as possible,” Aho told Die Zeit.

Aho is a member of the Centre Party and was Prime Minister of Finland between 1991 and 1995.