Paris (AFP)

The Finnish telecoms equipment supplier Nokia, which wants to "reduce its costs", announced Monday the elimination in France of 1,233 jobs from its subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent, ie one third of the workforce of this company in France: "a disaster", worry the unions.

The group plans to cut 402 jobs in Lannion (Côtes-d'Armor) and 831 in Nozay (Essonne), during 2021, Bernard Trémulot (CFDT) and Frédéric Aussedat (CFE-CGC) told AFP ), following a central social and economic committee (CSE).

"It is a disaster," denounced Mr. Trémulot. "This will be the fourth collective redundancy plan since Nokia bought Alcatel-Lucent in early 2016", protested in a press release the inter-union CFDT, CFE-CGC, CGT and CFTC of this subsidiary. And "at each social level, the starting conditions deteriorate," criticized Mr. Aussedat.

Nokia must "significantly improve" its plan, said the Ministry of Economy, in the wake of this announcement. The unions must be received Tuesday, at 2:30 p.m., by the cabinet of Secretary of State Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

To remove these positions, Nokia plans a voluntary departure plan and "reclassification solutions," said management in a statement.

The job cuts will concern support functions, but especially research and development (R&D). "They attack R&D", "it's incomprehensible", considered Mr. Trémulot, who fears "a condemnation" in the long term of the Lannion site, where nearly 770 people work today against "more than 2.000 at the end of the years 1990".

Specifically, "83% of job cuts" affect R&D, a proportion that reaches "95% in Lannion and 77%" in Nozay (about 2,870 employees), said Mr. Aussedat, during a press conference.

The job cuts are "part of a global plan to cut costs" launched in late 2018, said Nokia, which wants to "step up its efforts to improve its competitiveness and guarantee its long-term performance", "in a market context where pressure on costs remains very significant ".

- "Betrayal for everyone" -

Three other French subsidiaries, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS, 170 employees), Nokia Bell Labs France (NBLF, 200 employees) and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN, 1,000 employees), "remain outside the scope of this project", adds the management , which intends to "rationalize its activities in France". Iris Télécommunication (120 employees in France) is also spared.

"Nokia will continue to be a major employer in France with a solid base in R&D, sales and services," said Nokia President in France, Thierry Boisnon. "France will remain a decisive R&D center within Nokia, mainly around the development of 5G technologies and transmission by radio-relay systems, as well as in advanced research", he promises in the group's press release.

But for the inter-union of Alcatel-Lucent, the announcement of this new restructuring was "really a big blow," said Pascal Guihéneuf (CFDT). Two demonstrations, one in Paris, the other in Lannion, are scheduled for "dates not yet fixed," he said. "We are going to battle."

While teleworking remains privileged in the company, "we will bring our colleagues back to the site for strong union actions", said Claude Josserand (CGT), who advocates, "to begin with, stopping all the extra evening, weekend, 2X8 "work.

"We are not going to let it go," added Mr. Tremulot. "This fourth social plan of the Nokia era is a betrayal, not only for the employees, but also for the politicians. Everyone must feel betrayed" by a project "purely financial", he estimated. The third social plan, covering more than 400 jobs, "is not yet finished," he noted. Previously, Alcatel-Lucent had already been the target of two restructurings, in May 2016 (-400 jobs) and in October 2017 (-450).

In Lannion, the mayor Paul Le Bihan was very worried because Nokia "is one of the pillars of the local economy". François Durovray, president of Essonne, asked Bercy "to organize an emergency meeting with the representatives of the company and the elected representatives of the territory".

© 2020 AFP