Microsoft Offers Nokia Smartphone To Fired Chinese Factory Workers Who Leave Voluntarily

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Many Nokia factory employees in China are getting Lumia smartphones in lieu of keeping their jobs.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) is offering laid-off Nokia factory workers a small consolation prize: a Nokia Lumia 630, a low-end smart phone that sells for the equivalent of $170.

The Redmond, Washington, company offered the phone, which is sold in developing markets, to the first 300 employees to leave Nokia's Beijing plant, Chinese-language newspaper First Financial Daily reports. The factory, which once employed 2,000 people in research and development and 3,000 factory workers, will be truncated to a staff of just 300, Quartz reports.  Many fear they won’t receive adequate severance packages and have already protested the layoffs with the slogan “Microsoft’s hostile takeover and violent layoffs.”

Employees of the factory told First Financial Daily that workers were never explicitly told that they would be fired, but rather were encouraged to “sever their labor relations.” The smartphone offer was the last straw for many.

“Before July 30, people were still waiting to see what to do. But after the phone rewarding came out, we were so disappointed. After Aug. 1, more people are signing the leaving contracts,” one worker told the publication.

Microsoft said in mid-July that it would be laying off 18,000 employees over the next year, which is 15 percent of its global personnel. The majority of these employees will be from Nokia, the smartphone maker, which Microsoft acquired last year. About 12,500 Nokia employees will lose their jobs.

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