UNITE, a techie group, claims company is “blatantly lying” by denying claims of "illegal retrenchment".

Verizon layoffs Deputy Labour Commissioner steps in to look into intimidation claimsVerizon/Facebook
news IT Sector Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 13:06

Amid reports of large-scale layoffs by Verizon Data Services India (VDSI) in the country, the Chennai Deputy Labour Commissioner on Friday met representatives of the multinational along with members of Union of IT and ITES Employees (UNITE).

Chennai-based UNITE is among the few groups that have been protesting against what they have term as the "illegal retrenchment" of employees by VDSI. The communications giant, it is alleged, forced over 900 employees to resign in an "inhumane" manner.

UNITE had petitioned the Labour Commissioner, following which the Deputy Labour Commissioner called for a tripartite meeting involving representatives from both parties.

When asked if it was true that employees were being "illegally retrenched", the VDSI legal team blatantly denied the claims, UNITE said in a statement.

"...they claimed there has been no termination or forced resignation in VDSI and also added that news from various media are false. UNITE strongly condemns this response and is preparing the next level of actions to counter their blatant lies," it said.

It also called upon employees from the IT and ITes sector, irrespective of the organisations they work in, "to stand with the affected employees and show solidarity against the VDSI management's insensitive behaviour towards its employees, who sacrificed the best part of their life for the benefit of the company and the management."

Earlier this week, it was reported that VDSI had laid off as many as 900 employees from its offices across India. The worst affected were said to be employees in the Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Terming the layoffs as "role rationalisation", Verizon’s spokesperson told the media, "As Verizon consolidates its strategy, we can scale, compete, and continue to be successful. Verizon’s IT, including Verizon Data Services India, is transforming into an engineering-centric, technology organisation. The transformation entails rationalising roles, which has an impact on headcount. We are doing role rationalisation not to meet a specific number but to match the talent with the requirements of the business for its future."

A laid-off worker alleged that the company was using bouncers and counsellors to intimidate employees into resigning. A 32-year-old techie from Verizon's Hyderabad campus told TNM that he was summoned by the HR team one day and asked to resign without any prior notice. When he opposed, he alleged, they forcefully made him resign.

He claimed, "The bouncers pushed me back into my chair and held me by my shoulders till I signed the document. It was an awful experience and I can't begin to tell you how demeaning it was. It was not like I was on the bench, I was performing and they treated me in this terrible manner."

The company has denied the allegations of manhandling. "Security personnel along with HR personnel were part of the meeting to ensure there were no emotional outbursts or adverse reactions," Sajad Pokkadon, Verizon's corporate communication head in India, told The New Indian Express.

Also read: 'Bouncers, counsellors used to intimidate us', allege laid off Verizon employees

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