Nortel employees ask judge to order severance, pension payments

Former employees and current pensioners of Nortel Networks asked a Canadian judge to order the bankrupt equipment maker to pay them severance and pension supplements.

After it filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-January, Nortel stopped making some pension payments and refused to make severance payments to employees, claiming that it didn't have to under bankruptcy guidelines.

The employees and pensioners claims that Nortel is violating Canadian labor laws by refusing to pay them, according to filings posted on the website of Ernst & Young, the court-appointed accounting firm supervising Nortel's bankruptcy proceedings. A hearing on the matter is set for April 20.

Meanwhile, the fate of the company itself is up in the air. According to a report last week in the Wall Street Journal, Nokia Siemens Networks offered to buy large chunks of Nortel Networks' businesses, including most of its carrier networks unit and its unit focused on LTE. Additionally, an auction last week of Nortel's enterprise telecom business attracted bids from Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Communications.

A Nortel spokesman did not comment on the specific deals being discussed, but did tell the Journal that "planning is underway and we are pursuing opportunities that we believe will provide maximum benefit to our key stakeholders, including our creditors, customers and employees."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg News article

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