Nokia to layoff 700 workers at Reynosa

Nokia says the 700 workers it is laying off at its maquiladora in Reynosa will receive severance packages “a little bit” bigger than what Mexican labor law mandates.

The Finland-based phone manufacturer announced Wednesday it would eliminate 4,000 jobs from three of its plants — in Reynosa; Komarom, Hungary, and Salo, Finland — amid a plan to shift assembly to Asia. Those three plants’ new task will be customizing the phones, according to a company news release.

Maureen Simington will continue as the general director of the plant at the Villa Florida Industrial Park, where no changes are expected among local leadership positions, said Manuel Gonzalez Arce, director of corporate communication for Nokia in North Latin America.

The layoffs, already under way, will be completed by mid-year, Gonzalez Arce said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many, if any, of the Reynosa facility’s 700 affected workers live in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dan McGrew, the coordinator of the Industrial Relations Committee of the Reynosa Association of Maquiladoras and Manufacturers, said that although such job losses are “never good,” the wider outlook for local manufacturing remains positive.

“The industry is in better shape this year than it was (last year),” McGrew said, “and we expect that trend to continue.”

Though Nokia is shrinking in Reynosa, he said, other companies are expanding.

In a news release Wednesday, Nokia said the layoffs at the three plants follow a review of smartphone manufacturing operations. The goal is to increase the company’s competitiveness by shifting assembly to Asia, where most of its component suppliers are based.

Nokia will offer a support program for laid-off workers, “including financial support and assistance with local re-employment,” according to the release.

The number of workers the maquiladora is going to keep would not be revealed “because that is information that our competitors also want to know,” Gonzalez Arce said in Spanish.

But the Reynosa plant will not be shut down, he said.

“That I assure,” he said. The city of Reynosa and the state of Tamaulipas “opened their doors to us 15 years ago, and we are not going to close.”

Source: Brownsville Herald