Nokia offers voluntary separation packages

Nokia announced that it was starting a voluntary separation package for almost all of its employees worldwide this spring, another sign that the economic recession is taking its toll on the industry.

Nokia said the program will be open for applications beginning March 1, and will be available for the first 1,000 employees who sign up. The program is set to close on May 31, and the company said that the terms and conditions of the packages will be in accordance with local legislation. Direct labor and senior executives will not be eligible for the deal.

The Finnish giant also said that it was going to give employees short-term unpaid leaves and sabbaticals of about a month, and would encourage employees to take holidays as time off rather than cash in that time. The moves are just the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures the company has taken recently amid the deteriorating global economy.

Nokia recently laid off 30 mobile advertising employees, which came on top of the company's decision to cut 320 R&D workers in Finland, and lay off other workers there on a rotational basis. Nokia saw its sales drop in the fourth quarter and its net profit drop 69 percent. The company shipped 113.1 million units in the quarter, down 15 percent from the 133.5 million it shipped in the fourth quarter last year and down from the 117.8 million it shipped in the third quarter of 2008.    

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