Workers at Nokia India’s plant near here were a relieved lot Thursday after an order by the Delhi High court allowed the transfer of assets to Microsoft International, said union officials.
“Workers are happy at the order of Delhi High court allowing the transfer of Nokia India’s Chennai plant to Microsoft,” M. Saravanakumar, president of the Nokia India Thoizlalar Sangam (NITS), told IANS.
The workers’ union had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to implead it as a party in the tax dispute between the Income Tax department and Nokia India. The Income Tax department had earlier seized Nokia India’s plant, a major production facility of the Finnish mobile phone major.
The freeze on asset transfer had put a question mark on the fate of Nokia’s Indian plant. Nokia India had even announced that the plant would be a contract manufacturing unit if the transfer to Microsoft was not allowed.
“The high court order relieves us of much tension. In a couple of days, we will be knowing about the worker transfer modalities to Microsoft,” union general secretary Tikkaram told IANS.
Allowing the transfer, the high court asked Nokia to pay Rs.2,250 crore in an escrow account. According to the order, the amount of deposit would go up or increase upon higher consideration being received by Nokia from Microsoft.
Nokia’s Indian plant employs around 8,000 people. Around 6,500 are permanent workers and around 1,500 are management staff and contract workers, said Saravanakumar. According to officials, the plant currently rolls out around 320,000 units per month, down from the peak period production of around 500,000 units per month.