Nokia battery supplier on the verge of closure; workers protesting against voluntary retirement scheme

Since yesterday, 800 workers of the electronic company Build your Dreams (BYD) in Chennai, India are on strike. The workers are unsatisfied with the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the Chinese owned Nokia supplier, which holds that workers who have been with the company for more than 8 years are offered a VRS of 50.000 rupee and a 2 months’ salary. The VRS announcement followed after a down-sizing statement from Nokia, which is having a cascading effect to its suppliers, such as BYD and Foxconn.

Nokia battery supplier on the verge of closure; workers protesting against voluntary retirement scheme

Since yesterday, 800 workers of the electronic company Build your Dreams (BYD) in Chennai, India are on sit-in strike. The workers are unsatisfied with the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) offered by the Chinese owned Nokia supplier, which holds that workers who have been with the company for more than 8 years are offered a VRS of 50.000 rupee and a 2 months’ salary. The VRS announcement followed after a down-sizing statement from Nokia, which is having a cascading effect to its suppliers, such as BYD and Foxconn.

BYD, supplying rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, has around 1500 permanent workers, including 500 women. Dissatisfied with the settlement package, 800 workers went on a sit-in strike and have not let the five Chinese managers and two HR representatives outside until their demands are answered. The workers say that, while they have tried to treat these managers and HR representatives with respect, the workers have been met with abuses. Images of the Chinese managers kicking over the food and water of the workers have appeared in the media. The police have stepped in under the guise of protection, but have been intimidating the workers. Two representatives of the NDLF union have been arrested. The workers are now being forcefully detained.

Cascading effect

The strike follows Nokia's down-sizing and long term move out of India. This has a cascading effect on its suppliers. Foxconn, for example, has announced a VRS to 800 of 1700 of its workers 3 days ago. It is expected that other suppliers will downsize or close soon too.

Watch the video broadcasted by Tamil TV Channel of the Chinese manager kicking over the drinking water and food that was meant for the workers:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LU48wHKO6U&feature=youtu.be

Read more on the Foxconn downsizing:  http://tnlabour.in/