By Denise Wall
HELSINKI--A Finnish union Thursday lashed out against the latest job cuts announced by Nokia Corp. (NOK) as part of its plans to reshape its ailing handset business, saying they are a "great shock."
"Nokia has benefited a great deal from Finnish society. The company can't just leave the smoking ruins behind--it must also take care of its staff in these difficult times," Lauri Lyly, head of Finland's main blue-collar umbrella organization, the SAK, told state broadcaster Yle. SAK affiliates represent 850 workers at Nokia's Salo plant, where manufacturing is due to be halted.
The Finnish handset maker said Thursday it is cutting 10,000 jobs, including nearly 4,000 in Finland, through shuttering factories and research facilities, and replacing the long-standing heads of mobile phones, marketing and sales.
The staff reductions come on top of close to 14,000 job losses announced last year and will cost some EUR1 billion to implement.
Mr. Lyly said the extensive job cuts would put Nokia's sense of social responsibility to the test.
"The personnel cuts announced by Nokia today come as a great shock," Mr. Lyly added.
The Finnish government said it has a number of programs in place to soften the blow caused by the loss of domestic jobs at Nokia.
"We will help by providing training and identifying new positions for those who will lose their jobs," Finland's Economic Affairs Minister Jyri Hakamies told state broadcaster Yle. "We are also working closely with Nokia in their bridge program to resettle workers," Mr. Hakamies said.
The minister said the government's program to boost growth will help accelerate the creation of new businesses. An important aspect of the program includes tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises to encourage them to employ more workers, he added.
He stressed it is now important to look ahead and identify new business opportunities and engines of growth, rather than focus on the Nokia losses. "Rovio is a good example," he said, referring to the Finnish company behind the hugely successful Angry Birds game.
Nordea Bank analyst Sami Sarkamies said the latest phase of the restructuring program announced by Nokia would help the company meet profitability targets.
"Additional cost cutting would facilitate profitable operations based on lower Lumia sales," Sarkamies told the Finnish business daily Kauppalehti.
"The previous target was for Nokia to reduce annual expenses to 4.35 billion euros by the end of next year, which clearly means additional savings of nearly one billion euros annually," the analyst said.
Nokia's share price was down around 10% shortly after midday.
Write to Denise Wall at email@example.com