My name is Shyam Sundar. I am working in one of the top 5 leading IT Companies in India. I have 20 years of working experience in Information technology and working in the current company for the past 16 years. I have experience working in various part of the globe including countries like USA, UK, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and South Africa.
In recent times there is a lot of layoff news across different companies and I have seen many of my friends were also affected due to job loss. I feel the best way to fight against layoffs is to create awareness among IT employees about their rights and providing various legal clarifications to protect their rights. I decided that employee right can be protected only by trade unions as this is common practice across different sectors and IT is one of the very few fields where we don’t have trade unions. So I decided to join New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees Wing which is one of the registered trade unions in Tamil Nadu.
When we search for articles about employee rights on information technology sector, we found very few articles and that too available as scattered. So we decided to write series of articles that elaborate various myths prevalent among the IT employees and provide clarification through this series. This series of articles is already being published in Tamil and your can click the link to get the Tamil version. We have totally 10 parts of this article and our core intention is to have one stop shop of providing various clarifications to IT employees and help them to protect their rights. We request everyone’s help to share this series of articles widely as this helps everyone during crisis situation and will educate IT employees about their rights
Let us see an example of how layoffs are happening in Information technology. Recently there is an audio tape of conversation between HR officer and employee of Tech Mahindra was leaked. In the conversation, HR officer is asking the employee to submit the resignation within the end of the day. She mentions that if he submits the resignation, then relieving letter will be provided with good conduct. If he refuses to resign, then company will terminate tomorrow and in that case, it is treated as unclean exit and employee will not get job elsewhere. She explains that cost optimization is going on across the company and his name is identified as part of the cost optimization plan.
Employee gets shocked on hearing this and mentions that he has financial commitments and finds it difficult to resign within 1 day. He also asks if there are any alternative ways where he can approach and complain about this sudden job cut. But HR manager replies that this list is coming from top CEO level and we cannot complain to anyone in the company as the decision is coming from the top management. Employee says this is very unfortunate and not correct. the conversation ends there. This conversation is typical example of what is happening in information technology companies now-a-days.
As this conversation was leaked in social media and discussed in various television shows, top management of Tech Mahindra apologized for this event. Anand Mahindra in his twitter account posted this apology.
I want to add my personal apology. Our core value is to preserve the dignity of the individual & we’ll ensure this does not happen in future https://t.co/yBxAxvFZlc
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) July 7, 2017
But unfortunately this is happening in many leading IT companies across India. People working onsite are asked to travel back to India and then asked to resign. Employees are threatened to submit self-resignation and if any employee resists they are harassed by multiple ways to make them submit resignation.
People outside IT sector have a perception that IT employees get high salary, travel to different countries, do a lot of partying and enjoy their life lavishly. But problem faced in IT industry is completely different.
It is true that people working in IT industry get more salary than many other sectors. But the biggest worry for IT employees is the layoffs happening across the industry. Most of the employees who are asked to resign are in the age bracket of 35+. This is the age where an employee got married, have kids, bought new house and is paying high loan amount. So sudden job loss will be both physically and mentally big shock for any IT employee. All companies are trying to cut down employees of upper age groups and it will be difficult for these employees to find new job also. So fear of job loss is very high across all IT employees of age group above 35
Gopi Krishna’s unfortunate suicide is an example for person who has high mental pressure due to fear of job loss. In his suicide note, he mentioned that he is very much afraid about his ability to take care of his family. He also noted that there is no job guarantee in information technology and asked his apology to his family members on his suicide decision. This incident is typical example to understand the overall impact it creates on employees due to sudden job loss.
Definitely it is not required for anyone to take this big decision. There are many ways you can fight against your management decision and Indian laws grant various rights to employees. The main problem here is IT employees are not having enough knowledge on various legal protection employees have. The companies are using employee ignorance and forcing them to resign. There is a short, sweet and simple proverb which states “Information is wealth”.
Through this series of articles, we are going through various queries employees working in Information technology have and build awareness on their rights.
We will start from the queries asked by Tech Mahindra HR. She asked the following queries in the conversation:
- In your offer letter, it is mentioned that company reserves the right to separate employee by giving 2 months notice and you have signed the notices. Hence, as per the contract, company can separate the employee giving 2 months notice.
- Decision of separating the employees is coming from top management. There is no one above who can defend the top management orders
Are the above 2 statements is true. Is offer letter contract final? If higher management decides, employee has no option than resigning or is there any other option which can help employee.
We will the above 2 queries in detail in the next part.
– Shyam Sundar