1,000 Nokia workers walk out in Finland

More than a thousand Nokia employees are said to have staged a walk-out from the company's premises in Finland, amid fears over job cuts following the struggling mobile-maker's partnership with Microsoft.

Local newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported that the protests this afternoon at Nokia's Oulu and Tampere officed involved more than 1,000 employees, but has since removed the figure from its web site.

Nearly 3,000 workers are said to be employed at the company's Tampere offices, half of them working on the Symbian operating system.

The future of Symbian looks bleak after the company today announced an agreement with Microsoft to develop handsets using the software giant's Windows Phone operating system - the first time Nokia has built handsets for a third-party OS.

A further 1,000 employees are believed to be working on the Symbian platform at the company's Oulu plant.

Finnish economic minister Mauri Pekkarinen today confirmed that the country's government had been in talks with Nokia over the possibility of job cuts.

An earlier report in Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti had suggested that the news had been greeted with a degree of calm - but according to sources at Nokia's offices in Tampere, "quite a few" workers this afternoon used the company's flexitime policy to go home early.

Company bosses have spent today trying to damp down uncertainty over the company's future, as Nokia shares plummeted nearly 13 per cent on early trading in New York.

Rival Google, the company behind the market-leading smartphone OS, Android, couldn't resist stoking the flames, with Aidan Biggins, a recruiter for Google's EMEA operation, posting the following message on micro-blogging site Twitter:

"Any Nokia software engineers need a job? We're hiring: www.google.jobs"

No official word has yet come from Nokia as to the scale of any projected job losses.