While some employees have been asked to "start exploring opportunities", others say they are not allocated any project at work.

IT layoffs Techies go to Labour dept against Tech Mahindra and CTS bank union supports them
news News Friday, May 26, 2017 - 09:55

A group of "affected" employees from Tech Mahindra on Thursday approached the Hyderabad Labour Commissioner with a petition against 'illegal terminations'.

The techies approached the labour department through the Forum For IT Employees (FITE), a body that has been spearheading protests against the reported large scale layoffs in the IT sector.

The Commissioner however, they say, refused to accept their petition stating that FITE is not a registered union and that people who want to can file individual petitions instead.

Abhilash S*, a Tech Mahindra employee says he was sent an email asking him to put down his papers a few weeks ago. 

When he asked for a reason, he alleges, he was simply told that "There is no reason. We have been given directions by the corporate. We have a list and we are getting in touch with people on the list."

Abhilash says he told them to terminate him if they wanted to, but that he would not give his resignation. 

He has continued going to work and has not been responding to emails from the HR. 

"I would have replied if it was my manager. But I don't even know the HR," he says. 

For over three weeks now, Surjeet Singh*, an employee of Cognizant Technologies Solution (CTS) in Pune, says he has not been allocated any project at work. 

"I have been going to office regularly though. I login in, check my email for any messages from the HR, and then return home after work hours," he says. 

Surjeet is part of the group of CTS, Pune employees, who on Thursday filed a petition with the city Labour Commissioner alleging the the company was coercing them to resign. 

Surjeet says he has eight years of experience in the sector and that he joined CTS last year. 

Last month, he says, he was asked by the HR to "start exploring opportunities" outside the organisation. When he asked for a reason, he wasn't provided with any. 

"At the end of the year, the yearly appraisals happen and I was given poor ratings. When we send quarterly updates, why can't they tell us what we are missing out on or what we should be working on? There are also no performance improvement sessions," he says. 

The HR, he claims, informed him that he may have to leave the company shortly. 

"I was not asked to resign. They simply stopped allocating any work to me," he states.

Surjeet, who has a wife and a four-month-old child, is looking for a new job, but he says in the current scenario, companies aren't open to hire someone experienced like him with a high salary bracket. 

Elavarasan Raja of the FITE, Pune chapter said that the Labour department has sent out a letter to the CTS management asking them to respond by June 1. 

While he himself has not been affected by the current layoffs, he says that there is no transparency in the appraisal procedure of IT companies. 

FITE Chennai was the first to file a petition against CTS, regarding the layoffs, with the Tamil Nadu Labour Commissioner. 

Vinod AJ General Secretary of FITE, Chennai, says that the CTS management has not attended the last few meetings conducted in the Commissioner's office and that they are currently waiting to get the next date. 

CTS says no layoffs

Cognizant President Rajeev Mehta has written an email to his employees in an attempt to address concerns over reports of large scale layoffs in the Indian IT sector. 

Cognizant has not done any layoffs, he said. "Each year, in line with industry best practices, we conduct performance reviews to reflect on the work of last year and ensure goal for the subsequent year are clear. We are being committed to being a meritocracy. We believe that’s good for all associates around the world."

Read the email here: Cognizant has not done any layoffs, believes in meritocracy:Company's President to employees

Bank union's support

Meanwhile, in another development, the All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC)  has extended its support to FITE. 

In a letter to the group, AIBOC said that it "fervently denounces the large scale layoffs of the employees in IT industry".

Stating that major IT companies "have started firing thousands of their employees", the body said that it will create large scale unemployment and hurt the rest of the economy. 

"Although the IT companies have given the statement that the employees have been fired as part of their annual 'performance appraisal' to align the workforce with the business objectives, the fact remains that the rise of protectionist politics, mainly in United States and other advanced countries, has increased the pressure on companies there to outsource contracts to local companies, instead of firms in India. This is making the growth prospect more difficult for IT companies in India," it said. 

TNM has reached out to Tech Mahindra for a comment and is awaiting response.

(*names changed)

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