Nokia: half-measures to mitigate layoffs – the telegram

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At the end of a demonstration this Wednesday in Paris, the Ile-de-France employees of the telecoms equipment manufacturer should be received at Bercy. Nokia management does not intend to cancel its plan but would be ready to reduce the number of deleted positions.

Nokia employees will once again beat the streets of Paris this Wednesday. They intend to reiterate their opposition to the social plan, announced on June 22 by the Finnish equipment manufacturer, which provides for the elimination of a third of its French workforce (1,233 jobs). At the call of the inter-union CFDT-CFTC-CGT-CFE-CGC, the employees of the Nozay site (91) will meet at 11 am, Place de la République, and will march to the Ministry of the Economy. They are expected to be received by the cabinet of the Deputy Minister for Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher. She has been asking management for an explanation since July, deeming her plan "unacceptable as it stands."

Secret clauses?

In Bercy, the disillusionment is great. In addition to its unprecedented scale, this fourth social plan since the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2015 affects for the first time research and development functions (1,000 out of the 1,233 eliminated), which are supposed to design the technologies of the future.

The minister had to wait for the arrival of the new CEO, Pekka Lundmark, in August, to demand the maintenance of centers of excellence in France, in accordance with the commitments made in 2015 before the Minister of the Economy at the time, a certain Emmanuel Macron. "Bercy refuses to send us the entire agreement," say CGT and CFE-CGC staff representatives, who suspect secret clauses. They lodged a complaint in July with the administrative court, following a favorable opinion from the Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (Cada). Bercy defends himself by claiming that they have been made public, except for elements related to national security.

"It is a question of the credibility of the French state to ensure that commitments are respected," Cédric O, secretary of state responsible for the digital transition, argues privately. If there are sanctions to be taken on Nokia, they will be taken as was the case for General Electric. " At Bercy, we prefer to focus on reducing the number of deleted positions and the reclassification of employees forced to leave.

Pannier-Runacher goes to the front

According to our information, Agnès Pannier-Runacher has slammed her fist on the table to demand that the group make more efforts and confirm that France remains a strategic country for Nokia. The telecoms equipment manufacturer has since accepted the principle of a "significant reduction" in the social plan, according to a source close to management.

Regarding reclassification, Bercy is banking on the tech ecosystem built around Lannion (22). But the majority should come from structures in the Rennes metropolitan area, such as Thales, the cyberdefense pole of the Ministry of the Armed Forces or the National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI). For Nozay employees, Ericsson would be involved.

However, these measures do not prevent the downsizing of Nokia in France, custodian of the assets and patents of the former Alcatel. With it, emerges the epilogue of the French state's strategy for a telecoms industry. Today, it focuses on software and the cloud. Will this be enough to ensure a hypothetical “European sovereignty” in this strategic sector?

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