EU pledges €2.6 million to support laid off Nokia workers

The European Union will support Finnish workers who were laid off by Nokia Network Systems and its suppliers due to “fierce competition” in the country’s IT sector.

The measure will benefit 821 workers, out of a total of 945 who were made redundant, in the areas of Helsinki, Oulu and Tempere after the motion passed in the EU’s Budget Committee.

Finland submitted the application in November 2016 to cover redundancies which occurred between 2 June 2016 and 2 October 2016. These came soon after Nokia announced a fresh round of job cuts in April as it attempts to integrate its 2015 acquisition Alcatel-Lucent.

 A budget of €2.6 million has been set aside to support the workers, which will be used to provide aid such as career coaching, vocational training schemes, services for new entrepreneurs, hiring incentives, training allowances and pay subsidies.

The Committee said the redundancies at Nokia reflected a trend affecting the country’s technology industry overall.

It noted that pressure to increase efficiency and maintain the competitiveness of products had made jobs there “extremely unstable”.

It said the redundancies were due to a worldwide transformation programme by Nokia that is “needed in order to be able to compete with East Asian rivals”.

The aid, which will be financed through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, still needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers on 15 May and the European Parliament on 17 May.

Nokia also cut 10,000 jobs back in 2012.

The round of lay-offs come as it bids to make savings totalling €900 million by 2018 in “synergies” through the merging of the two companies.

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