Ratan Tata’s masterclass for companies: Job cuts amid coronavirus; knee jerk reaction not a solution

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Published: July 24, 2020 4:34 PM

Ratan Tata also spoke about the plight of the migrant workers who were left with no work, food or place to stay after the government announced to impose a nationwide lockdown

Ratan Tata, Tata Group, job cut, salary cutRatan Tata said that there was a knee jerk reaction from the traditional workplace to lay off people because their businesses were gone. Image: Reuters

Tata Group’s Chairman — Emeritus Ratan Tata has said that retrenchment of employees, even in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is not the solution, and that the companies have responsibility towards their employees. In an interaction with Your Story, Ratan Tata said that there was a knee jerk reaction from the traditional workplace to lay off people because their businesses were gone. He emphasised on the fact in the post coronavirus world, the way of doing business has to change.

Earlier, in March this year during the outbreak of coronavirus, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran announced to pay full salaries to temporary workers and daily wage earners for the months of March and April, even when they were unable to work due to nationwide lockdown, site closures, plant shutdowns and many other reasons. Moreover, IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), in April this year, clarified that the company will not lay off any of its 4.5 lakh employees. It, in fact, announced to honour the offer letters that were given to the freshers and assured that all of them will be onboarded as the year proceeds ahead.

Among many other issues, Ratan Tata also spoke about the plight of the migrant workers who were left with no work, food or place to stay after the government announced to impose a nationwide lockdown. “These are the people that have worked for you, these are the people who have served you all their careers and you send them out to live in the rain? Is that your definition of ethics when you treat your labour force that way?” Ratan Tata said in the interview.

While talking about business and leadership, Ratan Tata said that even when everyone chases profits, one should question how ethical their journey has been so far. He emphasised that business is not about just making money. One must do everything right and ethically for their customers and stakeholders. During the interaction Ratan Tata said it has not been yachts, manors or huge estates, that he missed the most the pandemic, but the wonderful experience of interacting with people who stand for the same ideas as he does.

Even as several companies have fired numerous employees owing to the lack of funds and cash flow, TCS slashed 15 per cent managerial remuneration for the year. According to TCS’ annual report for 2019-20, the directors decided to moderate the executive remuneration for this year to express solidarity and conserve resources.

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