Nokia’s French jobs cut plan suspended until October 2: French minister

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PARIS (Reuters) – Nokia’s (NOKIA.HE) plan to cut almost 600 jobs in France is suspended until Oct. 2, French junior economy minister Benjamin Griveaux said on Tuesday after meeting the head of the Finnish telecom equipment maker’s French unit.

Griveaux will meet with unions and company management on Oct. 2 to check whether Nokia is following on an earlier pledge to increase research and development (R&D) jobs in France.

“At this stage, the jobs cut plan is suspended … at least until this meeting that I will chair on Oct. 2 at the finance ministry,” Griveaux told reporters.

Nokia, which bought French rival Alcatel-Lucent in 2016, said earlier this month that it could cut 597 jobs in France by end-2019 as part of a plan to save 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) at group level.

When he was economy minister, President Emmanuel Macron had given his blessing for the takeover of the French company by Nokia in exchange for the Finnish group’s pledge to hire 500 people in R&D in France.

The acquisition of a so-called “national champion” by a foreign rival had fueled criticism amongst Macron’s political opponents at the time.

Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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