Nokia, Siemens venture to cut SA jobs
Business Day - Jul 18th 2012, 08:31
Telecommunications infra-structure provider Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, will slash about 28% of its workforce in SA, as part of NSNâ€™s global strategy of reducing costs and focusing on mobile broadband.
There is fierce competition in the telecommunications infra-structure market, which is increasingly being dominated by Chinese companies.
In SA, Huawei and ZTE have been aggressively pursuing business and have won some major contracts. Nokia, the cellphone maker, is also shedding jobs.
NSNâ€™s global restructuring includes the loss of about 17000 jobs out of its 74000 workforce. In SA, 160 workers will lose their jobs. NSN had 570 employees in SA when the year began.
According to trade union Soli-darity, more than half of the 160 employees have accepted severance packages. But NSN would not comment on how many employees had already left.
NSN wants to reduce its annualised operating expenses and production overheads by â‚¬1bn by the end of next year.
According to Solidarity, another reason for the retrenchments was that NSN "wishes to shrink its SA branch because it can do many of the functions done here much cheaper from Kenya".
NSN has closed the fixed line business and will focus on its mobile business, Solidarity said.
Rufus Andrew, MD of NSN SA, said the restructuring was part of the global workforce reduction process and "does not reflect our business in SA".
Mr Andrew said the company took a decision globally to focus on mobile broadband, including optical, "customer experience management and services".
"We believe this is the future direction of our industry and we will intensify our strategic focus on these areas. It is where we see the opportunity for profitable growth as a business ," he said.
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