Nokia's outsourced IT staff facing layoffs at HCL and TCS

Imminent layoffs at Nokia's key IT outsourcing partners will likely amount to more than half of the Finns it transferred earlier this year.

Hundreds of ex-Nokians from the Finnish firm's IT department who were transferred to outsourcing companies earlier this year look set to lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

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It's been a rough transition for the hundreds of former Nokia IT staff in Finland whose roles were moved to HCL and Tata Consultancy Services after Nokia's January announcement that it was streamlining its IT operations. Globally, Nokia transferred 820 IT staff to the companies with over 700 roles coming from its Finnish IT operations.

TCS Finland took in around 460 ex-Nokians while HCL Finland absorbed over 200 and now both companies are planning cuts that could affect more than half the workers originally transferred from Nokia. Though it's not known exactly how many ex-Nokians could be impacted, Finnish union UIL says vast majority of employee negotiations have involved this group. 

TCS announced on Tuesday that 233 roles are on the block, although the exact number will not be known until the end of August. The redundancies impact 172 Finnish workers and 61 international employees. The company now employes 427 personnel in Finland.

The estimated layoffs are actually a slight reduction on the up to 290 roles Tata said in April that it may shed. The planned cuts came off the back of lengthy talks with staff about new conditions, which at one point included a scuffle over a BYOD program that jarred with Finnish customs

Meanwhile, Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat reported yesterday that HCL has begun discussions involving 209 former Nokians that could lead to a headcount reduction of 140. ZDNet has asked HCL Finland for comment and will update the story if it receives one.   

The pattern of staff transfers followed by layoffs at outsourcing service providers has caused angst among Finland's unions.

Nokia's Bridge programme — where outgoing staff are given financing to set up their own companies — has earned it a reputation for generosity to its former staff, but Finnish union Pro has repeatedly accused Nokia of outsourcing its redundancies, pointing to the most recent layoffs and earlier cuts at Accenture, which today employs very few of the 1,100 Nokians it took in after Nokia outsourced Symbian development in 2011 as part of its shift to Windows Phone.