In an effort to encourage more of the 4,700 Nokia employees it’s laying off to accept the company’s volunteer resignation package, Microsoft is offering to throw in a free Nokia Lumia 630 handsets for the first 300 employees who apply each day, and if you’re wondering, the phone is worth less than RM550.
On July 17th, Microsoft announced it would cut 18,000 jobs most of which would be from the Nokia devices and services unit it acquired three months earlier on April 25th for USD7.2 billion (RM23 billion). In China, where Nokia has an R&D center and two manufacturing plants, the number of employees is being reduced from 5,000 to just 300.
The drastic cut—94%, if you’re doing the math—sparked protests by employees who claim that Microsoft had promised not to cut jobs for a year after acquiring Nokia. The Inquirer reports that hundreds of Microsoft employees gathered at the gate of the Nokia R&D facility in Beijing’s Yizhuang industrial park for five hours waving banners that read “Protesting hostile acquisition and forcible layoffs by Microsoft” and “We want jobs” and shouting chants against the treatment they were receiving from Microsoft.
The severance package Microsoft is offering to Nokia staff being laid-off in mainland China compensates employees with two months’ salary plus an additional month’s salary for every year of service the employee had put in at Nokia. The protesters were also claiming that Microsoft was treating them unfairly alleging that Nokia staff being laid-off in Taiwan were being offered a further two months’ salary.
Microsoft said it is aware of the disagreements regarding the severance plans and that it was in negotiations with the labour union to settle the disputes.