Nokia workers vow to continue strike over Microsoft deal

Striking employees in China say they were forced to sign new and weaker contracts because of the Microsoft purchase.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Nokia headquarters in Finland.
Nokia headquarters in Finland. Roger Cheng/CNET

Nokia workers in China aren't happy about Nokia's deal with Microsoft or the new contracts they say they had to sign.

Hundreds of Nokia workers went on strike Tuesday, claiming they were forced to sign new contracts with less favorable terms of employment as a result of the company's sale of its mobile phone business to Microsoft.

Already, 59 employees have lost their jobs after failing to report to work, an action that has threatened to extend the strike even further, Reuters reported on Friday. Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson said their contracts were terminated after they elected not to return to work.

"They have no grounds for firing us," one worker said. "We've already chosen this road to walk on, so we'll stick with it."

Dawson told Reuters that Nokia has met with employees this week "to explain the situation and dispel the many rumors and false statements." But some employees disputed that claim. One worker also complained that no representative came to negotiate with the strikers.

A Nokia spokesman sent CNET the following statement:

We continue our efforts to engage a small group of employees in our Dongguan facility who are demanding a severance package -- for jobs they have not lost and which continue to offer the same salary and benefits. The vast majority of employees are at work. Our manufacturing operations in Dongguan continue. We have also adjusted our operations in our other manufacturing facilities.

Workers in China don't necessarily trust their employers, according to Reuters, which feeds fears that labor conditions will get worse after corporate takeovers. On Tuesday, Nokia shareholders voted to approve the deal that will give Microsoft custody of the Finnish company's Devices and Services business.