Unprecedented: IT workers unite to launch stir against TCS layoffs

03 Jan 2015


In an unprecedented protest by India's 'techies', various organisations based outside Kerala are planning to move to Kochi to protest against the move by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to sack numerous employees at Infopark in Kakkanad.

The Chennai-based Forum for IT Employees (FITE), an organisation for the welfare and rights of IT workers in India, has held discussions with the sacked employees at Infopark to chalk out the protest methods.

A mass petition to the Prime Minister's Office, protest demonstrations, and social media campaigns against the retrenchment at TCS have emerged as strong possibilities.

But the company maintains there is nothing extraordinary in its move. TCS said 'involuntary attrition' will be a mere 1-2 per cent of its total workforce of 3,13,000.

But company insiders and industry sources say the actual number would be far higher; while employees say thousands of staff are being laid off by being taken off their job or informally asked to go.

But the management says fresh workers are being hired even as seniors are being let go. The company has officially announced it will hire about 55,000 in 2014-15 while it has undertaken a restructuring in a sign of a workforce churn.

Protests started in the last one week in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Kochi. The recently formed FITE in response to the developments within TCS is spearheading the campaign with a mass petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop this "indiscriminate termination."

Over 3,000 people have signed up online for the petition.

FITE has held a meeting of those sacked by TCS in Kochi, and is planning a demonstration in the city on Tuesday and one in Bangalore thereafter.

According to FITE founding member Bharatidasan, TCS has asked 700 employees in Hyderabad, 470 in Bangalore, 480 in Chennai, 70 in Pune and 20 in Kochi to leave, while several hundreds were told by their managers that they would be called by HR.

"We would like to reiterate that our total global annual involuntary attrition is 1-2%," a TCS spokesperson said.

Some of the aggrieved employees in Bangalore met deputy labour commissioner but did not lodge a petition fearing blacklisting. A FITE member said the organisation is mulling legal recourse.

TCS last month said revenue growth in the current financial year would be lower than that of the previous year, backtracking from far more optimistic projections it had made earlier.

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