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Nortel: Le Strike in France

Nortel Networks Corp. (NT) isn’t endearing itself to the global marketplace this week.

First comes word that about 200 of the company’s employees in France have gone on strike; they’re demanding better severance and “reclassification measures.”

“We have contributed to the wealth of the group whilst being subjected to relocation and collective redundancies; now the anger and exasperation forces us to go on strike to defend our rights at work,” the group wrote in a letter published by various media outlets. “Conscious that the economic climate is unprecedented, we demand financial compensation and reclassification measures to help the families concerned to survive this difficult period which is looming.”

After that, news broke that Nortel probably won’t be able to pay employees’ long-term disability benefits anymore. If the company does not come out of bankruptcy in one piece, it won’t be able to pay for the insurance that covers those benefits. In other words, the approximately 400 Nortel workers on long-term disability would be out of luck.

The chances of Nortel emerging intact are very small unless MatlinPatterson succeeds in its quest to keep Nokia Siemens Networks from buying the wireless unit.


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