Nokia committed to creating R&D jobs in France: minister

Flags with the Nokia logo flutter at company's headquarters in Espoo, Finland, May 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

PARIS (Reuters) - Nokia NOKIA.HE has reaffirmed its commitment to creating research and development jobs in France, the country's junior economy minister said on Monday, though the Finnish telecoms maker will still be able to cut hundreds of jobs in other areas.

When it bought French-American company Alcatel-Lucent at the beginning of 2016, Nokia made a commitment to hire 500 people in research and development and to maintain a workforce of 4,200 employees for two years.

Early last month it announced plans to scrap 600 jobs in central and support areas by end-2019 and trade unions and the French government have been looking into whether these cuts would be in breach of its earlier pledges.

“A very clear commitment has been made: no cuts from the 4,200 jobs ... and something else important, 2,500 jobs in R&D in total before the end of the 2018,” Junior Economy Minister Benjamin Griveaux told reporters after meeting unions and Nokia France’s president for over three hours.

Trade unionists said the process for implementing the planned 600 job cuts was to resume within 10 days.

Nokia will have created 330 of the 500 promised jobs in research and development by the end of this year, unionists added.

President Emmanuel Macron oversaw the deal as economy minister in 2015-2016 and gave his blessing in return for Nokia’s commitment to creating the R&D jobs and maintaining 4,200-strong workforce until January 2018.

At the time he came under fire for allowing the acquisition of what was considered a “national champion”.

Reporting by Myriam Rivet; writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Lisa Shumaker