Bochum employees pleased with Nokia severance

Bochum employees pleased with Nokia severance
Photo: DPA
Employees at a Nokia plant to be closed in Bochum, Germany said Wednesday they are pleased with the €200 million severance package the cell phone maker has offered.

Acting workers’ association chief Silvano Guidone told DPA press agency the severance deal is peerless within Germany.

“Our colleagues know to appreciate this,” Guidone said, after presenting the main points of the severance to the workers’ association.

About 2,300 workers are affected by Nokia’s closure of the Bochum plant. The Finnish group – the world’s leading maker of mobile phones – is moving its Bochum operations to Romania, where labour costs are lower.

Under the settlement agreement, unveiled on Tuesday, €185,000 of the settlement will go directly to redundancy payments for workers. Each worker will get an average of €80,000. The remaining €15 million will finance a transitional company to provide a year of job training for laid-off workers.

Economists with ties to employers said the size of the severance package could pose a problem for other companies doing business in Germany.

“For a foreign investor this is a fatal signal that if the worst comes to the worst, a plant closure is an extremely expensive undertaking,” Hagen Lesch, a wage expert at the Institute of the German Economy, told DPA.

Though layoffs do not go into effect until June 30, some workers expect not to be called into work after early May. Three hundred Bochum workers are being transferred to two other companies.