Chennai: Nearly 5,000 of the 6,600 permanent employees of handset manufacturer Nokia plant at Sriperumbudur near here have opted for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) announced by the company last month.
"While we set no target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees, we have about 5,000 employees opting for the scheme (which ended today)," a Nokia India statement said.
It also said that to support the employees who have taken the VRS package, the company had introduced a 'Bridge' initiative under which "consultancy services and employment outlook trainings" were being offered.
Nokia, which recently sold its mobile unit to Microsoft, currently operates the plant as a contract manufacturer for the US-based software major.
Nokia India Employees Union sources told PTI that the employees who had opted for the scheme, which entitles a benefit of around Rs. 2 lakh, did so out of fear of job loss.
"About 5,000 people have left the company. Actually, they were not interested to leave. But out of fear of losing the job later without even the VRS compensation, they opted for the VRS," they claimed.
The Finnish company last month sold its mobile unit to software major Microsoft but the plant near Chennai ran into rough weather over tax disputes between Centre and state governments.
The company, which aimed to support the employees over the uncertainity of their future, announced the VRS scheme at the Chennai factory last month.
In its statement today, Nokia said it has introduced "several" new initiatives under the Bridge programme to provide support to the employees which include -- working with industry experts to identify new employment areas, conducting awareness programmes in 40 locations in Tamil Nadu including Chennai.
"The awareness sessions is to share information and insight into over 30 different skill development modules and employment outlook trainings across industries like garment, automotive, retail, hospitality," it said.
The Bridge programme is also aimed at inviting employers to "facilitate engagement and placements", it said.
Through the Bridge programme, Nokia said, globally about 18,000 employees have benefitted.