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Siemens execs cough up to help BenQ staff

German vendor Siemens expressed its disappointment over BenQ’s decision to kill off handset manufacturer BenQ Mobile on Monday. The Taiwanese-German joint venture was established just over a year ago when the German firm effectively paid BenQ Eur50m to take the ailing division off its hands.

But in a show of solidarity to its former employees, Siemens executives have forgone a 30 per cent pay rise for a year in order to help set up a hardship fund for BenQ Mobile employees.

“We believed in the business plan BenQ showed to us,” a Siemens spokesman told telecoms.com, “but obviously it did not work out that way.”

BenQ said Thursday that it has resolved to discontinue capital injection into BenQ Mobile and filed for insolvency protection as it is unable to stem unsustainable losses at the unit.

The BenQ Mobile work force, which includes some 3,000 German-based employees acquired from Siemens, is reported to have held protests since the announcement last week.

But ex-parent Siemens plans to set up a hardship fund to help laid off employees at the firm. The vendor will contribute a total of Eur35m to the fund, including Eur5m from the Siemens advisory board’s proposed pay hike. The fund is designed to help with training and finding of new staff positions.

The Siemens spokesman also said that the company would offer preferential treatment to any of the BenQ Mobile employees applying for any of Siemens’ 2,000 vacant positions. “We will treat them as internal applicants,” he said.

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