German Unions say Nokia Plant Closure Threatens Western Region

Group says region's entire economic future is at stake.

A confederation of German unions warned Jan. 15 that a decision by Finnish group Nokia to close its plant in western Bochum threatened the region's economic future. The world's leading maker of mobile telephones is the second-biggest employer in Bochum behind car maker Opel, the DGB confederation said. "On top of the 2,400 full-time and 1,000 part-time workers, hundreds of jobs are threatened at sub-contractors," DGB added.

"The region's entire economic future is at stake," it stressed.

Nokia said that the factory employed 2,300 workers and that production would be transferred to more competitive factories in Europe.

Bochum lies in the Ruhr valley, an economically depressed region that has lost its historic mining and steelmaking industries. The news was a new blow for Nokia workers in Germany, who have borne the brunt of an April 2007 merger of its activities with those of the German group Siemens. More than 3,000 jobs have already been lost since then.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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