HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE will start talks with staff at the end of April on substantial job cuts that follow its tie-up with Microsoft (MSFT.O), the company said on Wednesday.
Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker by volume, last month announced a strategy overhaul, dumping its own software platform and saying it would use Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which has hit its shares.
Finnish labor unions fear the move could cost thousands of jobs in the Nordic country alone.
A Nokia spokesman said the company told staff representatives on Tuesday the talks would start “toward the end of April.”
This would mean any announcement on job cuts would come after Finland’s general elections on April 17.
Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila told Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat that precise plans on job cuts were not made.
“This is global restructuring of our product development, so it is not only about Finland.”
“In the horizon there is nothing that would be particularly horrible for Finland, or something that would give ground for the argument that Finland would not be treated well,” he said.
Big shareholders in Nokia support its new smartphone strategy but some are impatient with the timescale, Ollila said.
“We have spoken with 20-30 central shareholders and their message is very clear. They consider the strategy good and the Windows decision a right one,” Ollila was quoted as saying.
“They do not like that we are about to start a restructuring period that takes 18 months or two years. It is such a long period that some investors do not have patience for that,” he told the newspaper, adding Nokia’s share price was “painful for the board.”
Nokia shares have dropped almost 30 percent since the Microsoft link was unveiled and were 0.5 percent lower at 5.885 euros by 0949 GMT.
Editing by Jane Merriman