Nokia rebuts study saying Chennai workers underpaid

Finland's Nokia Oyj, the world's largest maker of mobile handsets with a marked presence in India, was quick earlier this week to rebut a report by independent human rights watchdog saying that workers at its factory in Chennai are subject to almost sweat-shop pay and working conditions compared to international standards.

Finnwatch, which looks at Finland companies operating in developing nations, conducted the study in partnership with Bangalore-based non-government organisation Cividep-India and Dutch group Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO).

"In sum, most workers of the studied companies were employed in precarious positions and earn very low salaries even in the Indian context," the report said.

''A large number of workers are employed in precarious positions and earn very low salaries, even in the Indian context,'' said Päivi Pöyhönen of Finnwatch while commenting on the report.

The three business-practice monitoring groups called on Nokia, as well as three other foreign mobile-phone manufacturers and component makers based in Chennai, to treat temporary and permanent workers equally and offer high enough pay to allow employees to start families.

The other companies studied were Salcomp Oyj, Flextronics International Ltd, and Foxconn International Holdings Ltd.