When the finns got angry

The Nokia plant in Bochum-Riemke closed its doors just under a year ago. Cell phone production was relocated to Romania, and despite massive protests by the workforce, the closure was not completed by the 30th of September. June 2008 could not be prevented. 2300 employees lost their jobs. About 1,000 affected people have since found new jobs.

One year after the closure, the balance sheet is mixed. Although the settlement of new companies – such as the real estate developer Thelen or the technology company Scanbull – on the former Nokia site was successful, for many of the actual employees, the only option is probably the bitter path into unemployment. "Around 1000 employees have found new jobs. About 1,300 were transferred to the transfer company," says Ulrike Kleinebrahm, a representative of IG Metall Bochum. Due to the difficult economic situation, it is difficult for these people to find a new job. In addition, some of them – such as radio and television mechanics – have training that is no longer in demand on the market."The new start at the site has not been entirely successful," Kleinebrahm then explains. In addition, not as many new jobs as hoped for have been created by the settlements on the former Nokia site. In addition, the economic slump had ensured that many a planned company settlement did not materialize. "I hope that something will happen there," says the IG Metall representative.

Growth for Bochum" agreement In order to create as many new jobs as possible and attract further investors, the "Growth for Bochum" agreement was signed on Monday between Nokia, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bochum. The program is endowed with around 53 million euros. Some 30 projects will be supported, mainly in the areas of health, youth and education. Significant points of the program include medical technology projects, a language camp for third graders to improve their German and social skills, and an initiative to help Hauptschule students find apprenticeships. Projects in the fields of IT technology, energy, environmental technology and mechanical engineering, infrastructure as well as start-ups in the technology sector are also being supported.Initial successes at the Nokia site can already be seen from the city's perspective. For example, the former Nokia research and development center is about three quarters occupied again, says Heinz-Martin Dirks, head of Bochum's business development department. In addition, with the Essen-based Thelen Group, a company has been found that has purchased the former Nokia premises, covering 200,000 and 34,000 square meters respectively, and is now continuing to look after them and rent them out. One is "glad" about the commitment of the company at the place.

"Not everyone has been accommodated yet"

In addition, an inter-communal industrial park is currently being planned between Bochum and Herne – along the 43 freeway – under the working title "Her-Bo 43". "This is to develop and market industrial sites even better in consultation with our neighboring city," Dirks explains. Even the head of the economic development agency admits that not all former Nokia employees have jobs yet. "Not everyone has been accommodated yet," he explains. Above all from the area of production, many employees have not yet been mediated. To commemorate the upheaval of a year ago, a ceremony is to be held this coming Thursday (18. June), a photo exhibition on the protests at that time was opened in the IG Metall administrative office in Bochum. On 30. June itself, according to Kleinebrahm, no actions are planned at the former Nokia site.

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