04 April 2011
Hundreds of Ex-Nokia Developers Voluntarily Abandon Work On Symbian Platform After Being Outsourced To Accenture
Hundreds of former Nokia employees at the consultancy firm Accenture are reportedly leaving the company and claiming severance packages.
Nokia and Accenture have finalized an agreement for Nokia to outsource Symbian software development and support activities to Accenture last autumn. Accenture has offered the packages to workers who were only outsourced by Nokia and a ccording to a shop steward’s survey, up to 400 former Nokia workers have accepted the packages.
“Around 40 percent of those who were transferred have sought [the pay-offs],” said shop steward Sami Sallmén. “A majority of them have signed leaving agreements. That’s based on the survey we commissioned.”
Nokia transferred 1,200 Symbian developers to Accenture. They continued to work on the Symbian operating system while contracted to their new employer.
Sallmén says that there is now so little work that some Accenture employees are left twiddling their thumbs. The severance packages have been an agreeable offer for many outsourced developers.
“Workers have not exactly been pleased with their new employer, and they want to seek new challenges outside the company,” said Sallmén.
Sallmén himself is to join the departees, as he says Accenture has been a disappointment.
“Sure, at first it was a positive thing,” admitted Sallmén. “There were maybe more different tasks at Accenture than at Nokia. After it went through, it has been hassle and negative feedback the whole time."
Less work than promised
The severance packages are worth up to 15 months’ pay, according to Sallmén. The smallest payouts are a few months’ salary.
Even so, many employees have left without the benefit of the packages. Pertti Porokari of the YTN union says that pay-off conditions stipulate that the money should be repaid if the worker finds a new job this year, leaving many people to go without the package.
Unions had criticised the outsourcing arrangement from the start. They had feared that Symbian developers—working on an operating system that was to be replaced by Windows Phone as the main smartphone platform for Nokia—would face a short career with their new employers.
Accenture management are keeping a low profile on the story. The company’s communications department explained by email that the lay-off programme is voluntary. It says that the packages have been offered to those former Nokia employees that have not yet found new responsibilities within Accenture. The company would not confirm how many former Symbian developers had left.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 215,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of USD21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010. Its home page is www.accenture.com.