“Sir, your number has been selected for an offer”. Many of us would have received such phone calls inviting for meetings where sly attempts of selling time shares or stock market shares or plots would have been made. A free gift would have been guaranteed for attending the meeting.
Selvi (name changed) received such a call. Her father Mr. Panneerselvam working in MGR Nagar market for a monthly salary of Rs 6000 has managed to educate Selvi up to BE by subjecting his family to extreme privations. On completing the degree in 2014, Selvi has registered herself in Job portals. Getting her phone number from such a site, a company called CMC claiming to be part of Tata group called her.
“We are calling you from CMC, a subsidiary of TCS. Your profile has been selected. If you pass the interview, you will be taken for a training program with guaranteed job placement. At the end of the training, you will get a job from TCS”
On asking about the fees, they replied that it will be told only when the interview is cleared. Given the economic situation of her family, paid training is not affordable for them. Selvi therefore ignored the call and continued her job search.
“Even to pay college fees, we borrowed money from local money lender. We have to repay on daily basis. We managed by tightening our expenses. She used to take a lunch of rice, butter milk and pickle every day. In the month of January, we would buy Indian gooseberry for Rs 70 a kilo and pickle it. That is our food. We cut down the expenses on vegetables, fish, meat, etc to manage” says Panneerselvam.
After 4 months of futile search for a job, Selvi again got a call from CMC, Maharashtra. This time the family decided to give it a try. She was asked to come to the office with the name board of CMC (Subsidiary of TCS) at Guindy. (She says this name board has been changed since then to TCS). First day she was given aptitude test. Those who passed it were asked to come for the technical round next day. They were also asked to come prepared to pay the fees.
Within one hour after technical round, she was told the she has been selected. HR officer Jayasankari spoke to her and her father. She told them in a mix of English and Tamil, “This is a good chance. Soon CMC will merge with TCS. This is the last batch. Don’t miss the chance”.
On hearing that the fee will be rupees one lakh, Panneerselvam gave up saying he can’t afford that much. He was given an option of paying the amount in 5 instalments. They asked him “not to disclose these details to anyone and to pay Rs 5,000 immediately”.
The money the family had arranged for the medical expenses of Selvi’s mother had changed into demand draft in favour of CMC. CMC gave Selvi a letter of enrolment in the training program. The letter featured declarations such as ‘Tata Group Company’, and ‘Subsidiary of TCS’.
They asked Selvi to go to an office near Gemini for the training. In the first week she was made to wait for 20 students to join. After the strenth reached 20, they started technical training on C, C++, .Net, etc. With the daily lunch of rice, butter milk and pickle she completed the training.
Though the training was for 4 months, they had protracted it beyond 6 months. Then she was sent away with a message that she would be contacted by HR.
One day, HR from TCS called her and asked to come for an interview at TCS, Ambattur. No one was selected there. Then she was selected in Ramanujam IT Park. At the end of January, she went to Chennai One office at Thuraippakkam and collected her offer letter. Then they did the formalities of certificate verification, bank account opening, ID card, etc and she was appointed on probation.
She was not given any general administrative information like working hours, lunch break, leave taking procedure, weekly leave, yearly leave, casual leave, etc. Initially, Selvi was afraid to pose any question. She was deployed in a job for Lufthansa, Germany. The User Interface of that company has been created by IBM. The contract of testing it has been given to TCS. Selvi was taken into this testing project. On asking about this job being not related to the training (in C,C++,.Net), she was told curtly “We have only this job. Take it or leave it”.
After deductions of PF, ESI, she was paid a salary of Rs 6,700 per month. “We can’t get the PF money, bus charge itself ate up half the salary” says Selvi’s mother. It became a routine for Selvi to pack her usual lunch in the morning, change two buses, go to office and work up to 9.30 in the night.
With the energy and enthusiasm of youth, she immersed herself in work. She worked like an employee of many years of experience, discussing with TCS employees in Germany for clarifying her doubts and whenever necessary she even contacted Lufthansa office. After 3 months, working even on Saturdays and Sundays became a norm. She worked tirelessly and performed well. That is, she worked for the client in production as a regular full-time employee. Meanwhile, she was given the technical training completion certificate by TCS.
On questioning when the probationary period will end and when she would become a permanent employee, the manager at first evaded the question. At a later stage, she was told that she would not be made permanent and she would have to look for job elsewhere. At the end of July, she got an email saying her assignment is coming to an end and she has to meet HR officer Deepa for exit formalities. Only then she realized that she has been cheated. She came to know that her job guarantee after training was nothing but a short term contract employment.
Tata Group boasts itself as “salt to software multinational”, but has proved itself worse than small time conmen cheating innocent people with false promises. Selvi’s experience makes us realize that this is the secret of the success of corporate companies.
Translated by : Nesan
Article in Tamil Published in புதிய தொழிலாளி செப்டம்பர் 15 – அக்டோபர் 14, 2016