The Finnish telecommunications group Nokia announced on Monday its intention to cut 1,233 jobs from its operations in France. Unions and politicians have spoken out against the plan, calling on the government to step up and protect workers.
Nokia's French subsidiary, Alcatel-Lucent, is expected to cut 402 jobs at its Lannion, Brittany plant.
The other factory heavily affected by the cuts is that of Nozay (Essonne) south of Paris, where 831 jobs will be lost.
This is the fourth cost reduction announcement in four years since Alcatel-Lucent was purchased by Nokia in 2016 to develop the 5G network.
"It is completely unacceptable when you know that Nokia recently invested 30 to 40 million euros in new buildings," Lannion mayor Paul Le Bihan told France Info Monday.
A big blow for this medium-sized city
"400 jobs out of 800 is really hard to accept, and we wonder what their strategy is," he said, noting that Nokia is the city's third largest employer behind the hospital and Orange.
“It’s like we shot ourselves in the foot… after all we’ve done recently to revitalize the city center, with shops and attract people. This condemns the future development of our city, ”he said, remembering the day when there were around 2,000 workers on the site.
"If the government can do something, so much the better," he said.
"The state must come forward and say that there will be no job losses," insists general secretary of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, interviewed by France info on Tuesday.
Government called to intervene
"We have to keep these jobs in France," he said.
"It was a promise made by Emmanuel Macron when he was Minister of the Economy, when Alcatel-Lucent was bought by Nokia."
"Nokia is receiving government aid with research funding, and therefore the state should step in and send a strong message."
He specifies that the job cuts concern the research and development sector, a strategic error for France according to him.
Eric Bothorel, the LREM representative for the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany agrees that the technical know-how of large companies like Nokia is a key selling point, especially for developing the market in Asia and the United States.