PARIS (AFP) – Nokia plans to eliminate 1,233 jobs at its Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary in France, slashing its workforce in the country by a third as it grapples with intense competition in the telecoms equipment market amid the launch of 5G networks, the company and unions said yesterday.
It is the fourth round of layoffs at hardware manufacturer Alcatel-Lucent in the four years since it was bought by Nokia in 2016, and the biggest by far.
“It’s a catastrophe,” Bernard Tremulot of the CFDT labour union told AFP after a meeting where management unveiled the plan.
Nokia said the job cuts, in research and support departments, were part of global cost-cutting efforts launched in late 2018, “in a market environment where pressure on costs remains very intense”.
“Our goal is to increase operational efficiency, improve productivity and become more agile in terms of R&D, so we can reinforce our competitive positions and guarantee the group’s long-term performance,” it said in a statement.
The move comes after Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri said in March that he would step down in September, having overseen the company’s transformation into a network systems company after its mobile phone business was decimated by the rise of Apple and Samsung.
Nokia’s attempts to break into the 5G equipment market have struggled in the face of fierce competition from Huawei and Ericsson.
Last year it had its first net profit – EUR7 million (USD7.8 million) – since 2015.