China workers protest as Nokia-Microsoft deal progresses

The workers are protesting outside a Nokia plant, complaining of unfair compensation, according to a new report.

Nokia's Lumia 1020.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Factory workers in southern China are protesting Nokia's recent deal to sell off its Devices business to Microsoft, according to a new report.

Workers who build Nokia products in China gathered Wednesday outside their factory to protest, saying that the contracts they were forced to sign after Nokia announced plans to sell off the Devices unit worsen employment terms, according to Reuters. In interviews with Reuters, factory workers claimed that the Microsoft buyout would hurt their compensation. One unidentified source, however, told Reuters that it was more about getting additional compensation.

Factory protests have become somewhat commonplace in China. Workers across the country, toiling for a wide array of companies, have complained in recent years about working conditions and compensation. Some have even committed suicide. In many cases, the companies have given in to employees' demands, realizing that getting them back to work is perhaps more beneficial to the operation than battling it out.

For its part, Nokia told Reuters that it's in discussions with the protesters, but didn't promise any change to their employment deals.

Nokia shareholders on Tuesday approved the sale of the Devices and Services operation to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. The deal also includes Microsoft licensing patents from Nokia.

CNET has contacted Nokia for comment on the Reuters report. We will update this story when we have more information.