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Microsoft union rep: Job cut rumours "all speculation so far"

Microsoft Tampere shop steward Kalle Kiili said he was taken by surprise over media reports that software giant Microsoft was preparing for a major round of job cuts likely to target its newly-acquired Nokia handset division. On Tuesday, the news agency Bloomberg ran the story based on unnamed sources.

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Image: Marjut Suomi / Yle

Initial reports of the round of major job cuts came from the international news agency Bloomberg Tuesday morning and was quickly picked up by Finnish media, the business daily Talouselämä being the first out with the news.

The rumours touch on some 4,700 former Nokia employees transferred to Microsoft earlier this year when the software giant concluded its purchase of the Finnish company’s ailing mobile phone unit.

 “Of course it came as a surprise, but for the moment it’s still speculation. It’s sad to hear but for the moment we have to believe that there will be no job cuts,” said Tampere shop steward Kalle Kiili.

Kiili, who’s currently on his summer break, said that he hadn’t had a chance to discuss the Bloomberg reports with his colleagues.

“Yes, at least I want to believe that these retrenchments will be conducted according to the law in Finland as well. So far there hasn’t been any notification of any employee cuts, or that it’s being considered. However it should proceed according to the co-determination process, if it’s indeed on the way,” the union rep added.

“As long as no negotiations have begun, I’m of the belief that nothing like that is on the cards,” he remarked.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire

Kiili said that the payroll cuts speculations may have arisen from the idea that the company needed to act in some way. At the same time he said that speculation sometimes turns out to be something more.

“Microsoft is indeed a large organisation with a massive number of employees. On the other hand it’s also got cash. Hopefully they will realise better than the previous employer that cutting back doesn’t generate new products, but investment does,” he declared.

He said employees should be calm in the face of the public speculations.

“There is no reason to create panic or see bogey men that don’t exist. It won’t help matters, but sometimes there’s often some truth behind it (the rumours) when these things happen. We’ll just wait and see,” he concluded.

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