The European Commission has proposed to provide Finland with €5.3 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 1,441 former Microsoft workers to find new jobs. Finland applied for support from the EGF following the dismissal of 2,161 workers in Microsoft and eight of its suppliers and downstream producers. The main reason behind the workforce reductions at Microsoft is the declining market share of its phones using the Microsoft Windows operating system in comparison to the two US-designed operating systems Android and iOS used by various Asian-based manufacturers. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “An important feature of the global software industry is that it constantly requires a new, educated workforce, as the life cycle of products and related software solutions is very short compared to the life cycle of its personnel. The competition between employees from the EU and from outside the EU is fierce”. She added: “Today’s decision will help to prepare the former Microsoft workers for new job opportunities. Helping these workers to manage their difficult transitions is important and the Globalisation Fund is an instrument that has proved its worth over the years.” The measures co-financed by the EGF would help the 1,441 workers facing the greatest difficulties in finding new jobs by providing them with career coaching and individual guidance; employment and business services; a variety of vocational trainings; services for new entrepreneurs and start-up grants; hiring incentives; training-related allowances and contributions to removal costs. The total estimated cost of the package is €8.9 million, of which the EGF would provide €5.3 million. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for approval.
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