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This article was published on September 14, 2011

Nokia wrestles with allegations of underpaying workers in India

Nokia wrestles with allegations of underpaying workers in India
Aayush Arya
Story by

Aayush Arya

Aayush is the India Editor & Apps Co-Editor at The Next Web. When not writing, he enjoys spending his time bungling about on Twitter or Aayush is the India Editor & Apps Co-Editor at The Next Web. When not writing, he enjoys spending his time bungling about on Twitter or Google+, and answering email.

Nokia, in its response to an allegation from Finnwatch that it was paying less than living wages to factory workers in India, said that the human rights organisation wasn’t taking the benefits package into account, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Nokia pays about ₹ 4,500 ($95) per month to its factory workers in Chennai, India, which—though above the legal minimum wage in the country—is much lower than the €127 that the Asia Floor Wage campaign judges to be the minimum living wage for Indian workers.

Finnwatch also accused the company of putting new employees through a low wage training program lasting for 15 – 24 months, even though the training itself lasted for only six of those months, according to workers and managers at the factory.

With over 11,300 workers in its employ (about 45% of whom are on time-limited or trainee contracts), Nokia’s Chennai factory is its largest one in the world. It produces over 300,000 phones per day.

Nokia denied these allegations, stating that it actually pays the highest wages in the region (as accepted by Finnwatch), and blamed the human rights group for using more expensive cities like New Delhi as a benchmark when calculating living wages.

Furthermore, the company pointed out that “Finnwatch should include key benefits like occupational healthcare, meals, day care and transportation in their measurement.” It also said that it “continually evaluated the content and length of [its training] program”.

[Image courtesy of 06photo / Shutterstock.com.]