French president says Nokia job cut plan breaks commitment

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday a decision by Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia to cut about 600 jobs in France did not comply with commitments the firm made when it bought rival Alcatel-Lucent in 2016.

“Nokia was aided by the French government and it made clear commitments,” Macron said during a joint briefing following a visit by Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila.

He added Nokia’s only option was to respect its commitments and he would be “inflexible” towards the firm.

Macron, then economy minister, gave his blessing for the takeover of Alcatel by Nokia in 2016 in exchange for the Finnish group’s pledge to hire 500 people in research and development in France.

Nokia’s plan to cut 597 jobs in France by the end of 2019, part of a drive to save 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion), has been suspended until Oct. 2.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Mark Potter)