There has been a spike in IT professionals knocking on the doors of labour commissioners, asking them to intervene in cases of alleged “wrongful” retrenchment or lay-offs. “A recent response by a labour commissioner in Pune to a query filed under the Right to Information Act revealed that 22 of the 25 petitions in the past 10 years were filed this year alone,” says Elavarasan Raja, general secretary of Forum of IT Employees (FITE), Maharashtra. The forum, which provides support to affected IT workers, has seen the number of petitions by affected individuals rising not just in Pune, but in most IT hubs, including Bangalore and Chennai. Tech Mahindra, Vodafone, Syntel, Wipro, Capgemini, Technosoft, JP Morgan, HTC Global, CTS and HP Enterprise are among companies against whom petitions have been filed so far.
“Across India, more than 30,000 employees have been retrenched so far this year,” says Raja, alleging that IT companies don’t always reveal the number of people who have been handed the pink slip as part of the downsizing move. In many cases, a different modus operandi is being employed by several IT companies, including Indian biggies and MNCs. “Now they are changing the mode of removing the employees,” says Raja, who works with a multinational company. “For example, an employee is first transferred from the administration or finance department to a third-party vendor and then eased out from there.” In many cases, the affected professionals have alleged “pressure to voluntarily quit” after a non-transparent assessment process. This, in some cases, involves employees who have been awarded in the previous years for exemplary work.