The Pune labour department
has directed IT services firms such as Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant
to hold talks with employees who have petitioned the government for help alleging that they were laid off by these firms.
Around 50 former employees, including from US
IT services firm Syntel and telecom firm Vodafone
had petitioned the labour department
in Pune against their employers. The Assistant Labour Commissioner at Pune, Nikhil Walke had called these firms, the engineers who lost their jobs and the Forum for IT employees (FITE) for talks and arrive at a consensus.
While suggesting that IT firms
need to be more sympathetic to their employees, Walke said he has escalated the matter to Additional Labour Commissioner (Pune) to arrive at solutions that would be mutually beneficial for employees and the IT firms.
This would include looking at the HR policies at these firms and ensure adequate safety net is created to employees.
Among the concerns aired by the software professionals was that when companies
tell the media that employees need to reskill and upgrade their performance to hold on to their jobs, they are actually giving the signal that job losses are purely performance based. This, they say, hurts their employment prospects elsewhere.
"I had good performance for five years and over the last 15 days they have suddenly started pressurising me to resign. They say that the management has sent across these rules," said a petitioner.
Walke agreed that companies
need to make their policies more transparent if they are claiming that no illegal layoffs have occurred and they should be treating their employees more compassionately.
Indian IT services firms have maintained that they are not resorting to layoffs, but have increased scrutiny for performance among employees. They say while IT companies
continue to hire people with newer skills, they have been asking people who either do not have projects or have not upgraded skills in newer technologies, to go.
While Cognizant, Tech Mahindra
representatives were present for the discussion that lasted over three hours, Wipro management was not present. Tech Mahindra
have shared a set of responses while Vodafone
has asked for time to evaluate the complaint and respond. A Syntel official declined to comment.