Finnish telecommunication giant Nokia on Tuesday announced its plans to cut jobs, media reported.
Nokia gave 350 as a layoff target in Finland, and said the figures in France and Germany would be higher, but did not specify.
However, the company denied that the cuts would be related to the slower than expected launch of 5G technology, Xinhua news agency reported.
Instead, the aim is to make operations more efficient as the consolidation after the purchase of the French Alcatel-Lucent has been completed.
Tommi Uitto, director in charge of Nokia’s operations in Finland, said the changes are “necessary”. The cutbacks are part of 700-million-euro (about $798.7 million) savings announced in October 2018. Thereafter Marc Rouanne, one of the key directors, left the company.
In France, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) accused Nokia on Tuesday of attempting to improve profitability through shifting work to countries where labour costs are lower than in France.
Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted the union as saying that Nokia has broken its 2016 promise to the then finance minister Emmanuel Macron that staff size at Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs would remain at 4,200 for two years.
CGT claimed that Nokia had also broken its pledge to employ 2,500 new staffers in research and development. Helsingin Sanomat economics writer Petri Sajari said the French unions could turn the Nokia cutbacks against President Macron.
Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Nokia currently employs 100,000 people worldwide, 6,000 of them in Finland. (IANS)
The U.N. labor agency says existing methods of protecting workers from accidents and disease are not good enough to deal with new occupational hazards arising from changes in the nature of work. The International Labor Organization (ILO) is calling for revisions to address physical and psychological problems stemming from the changing job world.
In a new report, ILO estimates find 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases each year. It says more than 374 million people are injured or fall ill every year through work-related accidents. The cost to the world economy from work days lost is nearly four percent of global Gross Domestic Product.
The ILO’s report warns the changes and dangers posed by an increase in technology could result in a worsening of that situation. It says new measures must be implemented to deal with the psycho-social risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases resulting from new forms of work.
It says digitization, artificial intelligence, robotics and automatization require new monitoring methods to protect workers.
Manal Azzi, an ILO Technical Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health, says that on the one hand, new technology is freeing workers from many dirty, dangerous jobs. On the other, she says, the jobs can raise ethical concerns.
She told VOA surveillance of workers has become more intrusive, leading them to work longer hours, a situation that may not be ethical.
“Also, different monitoring systems that workers wear. Before, you would punch in, punch out. Now, you could wear bands on your wrist that show how many hours you are actually working in a production line. And, there is even discussion of introducing implants, where workers can be continuously surveyed on their production processes,” she said.
Azzi said a host of mental problems could be introduced by new work environments. The report also focuses on changes in demographics. It says employers have to adapt to the physical needs of older workers, who may need training to safely operate equipment.
Another area of concern is climate change. The ILO is positive about the green jobs being introduced. But it says care must be taken to protect people from warmer temperatures that increase risks, including air pollution, heat stress, and newly emerging diseases.
In the past, creating a safer working environment focused on the prevention of risks. Authors of the report say the ILO today needs to anticipate the risks. They say new skills and information about safety and health in the workplace have to be learned at an earlier age. Before young people apply for a job, they say, they should know their rights. The power of knowledge, they say, will help protect employees in the workplace. (VOA)