“Around 40 percent of those who were transferred have sought [the pay-offs],” said shop steward Sami Sallmén. “A majority of them have signed leaving agreements. That’s based on the survey we commissioned.”
Nokia transferred 1,200 Symbian developers to Accenture. They continued to work on the Symbian operating system while contracted to their new employer.
Sallmén says that there is now so little work that some Accenture employees are left twiddling their thumbs. The severance packages have been an agreeable offer for many outsourced developers.
“Workers have not exactly been pleased with their new employer, and they want to seek new challenges outside the company,” said Sallmén.
Sallmén himself is to join the departees, as he says Accenture has been a disappointment.
“Sure, at first it was a positive thing,” admitted Sallmén. “There were maybe more different tasks at Accenture than at Nokia. After it went through, it has been hassle and negative feedback the whole time."
Less work than promised
The severance packages are worth up to 15 months’ pay, according to Sallmén. The smallest payouts are a few months’ salary.
Unions had criticised the outsourcing arrangement from the start. They had feared that Symbian developers—working on an operating system that was to be replaced by Windows Phone as the main smartphone platform for Nokia—would face a short career with their new employers.
Accenture management are keeping a low profile on the story. The company’s communications department explained by email that the lay-off programme is voluntary. It says that the packages have been offered to those former Nokia employees that have not yet found new responsibilities within Accenture. The company would not confirm how many former Symbian developers had left.