Nokia Siemens Preserves Berlin Jobs, IG Metall Union Says

Nokia Siemens Networks, the phone-equipment venture that may be losing its German partner, agreed to guarantee jobs for three years for its 250 employees in Berlin, the IG Metall labor union said.

The manufacturer pledged to withhold from any mass firings at its sites in the city during the period, the union said on its website.

“An important tenet of the wage accord is a commitment to the further development of business areas here in Berlin,” Astrid Diebitsch, head of the Berlin works council at Nokia Siemens, said in the statement. “We now finally have three years of security and time to devote ourselves to the business rather than restructuring.”

The future of the network-manufacturing partnership of Espoo, Finland-based mobile-phone maker Nokia Oyj and Munich-based Siemens AG remains in doubt as an agreement keeping both investors in the venture expires in April. Siemens has intensified efforts to exit the project, with options including a stake sale or initial public offering, people familiar with the situation said this month.

The six-year-old venture sold its business-support systems unit to Redknee Solutions Inc. and its optical-networks business to Marlin Equity Partners in December to reduce costs and focus on mobile broadband. The two disposed units have a combined 700 employees in Berlin, IG Metall said today.

Nokia Siemens Networks Chief Operating Officer Samih Elhage was appointed chief financial officer a week ago following the departure of Marco Schroeter.

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