Tech Mahindra on Wednesday joined its bigger rivals Wipro, Cognizant and Infosys in laying off employees. The company is planning to lay off an estimated 1,500 employees across all levels. With the appraisal season under way for IT firms and reports emanating of such planned layoffs, which the companies call a routine process for letting underperformers go, employees have started seeking government intervention to save their jobs.
On Tuesday, the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) filed a petition with the labour commissioner in Chennai and Hyderabad. It will also be approaching the labour departments of Karnataka and Coimbatore over such terminations shortly.
“We demand the state and central government intervention to stop the illegal termination of Cognizant employee’s with immediate effect, reinstate all the affected employees, restore the normalcy in work environment affected by illegal terminations,” FITE said.
In fact, fearing more such layoffs, FITE also plans to submit a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief ministers of all states and the labour department of all states seeking intervention in this matter without any further delay.
In response to an FE query on layoffs, Tech Mahindra said, “We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year and this year is no different.” As reported earlier, Infosys, is also in the process of letting off around 1,000 employees, largely in the category of project managers and senior architects. Cognizant is also resizing its employee headcount by around 6,000 while it has also reduced the variable component in salaries.
Similarly, Wipro is estimated to have let go of 350-400 employees, which the company attributed to a rigorous performance appraisal process to align its workforce with business objectives and which has resulted in the separation of some employees.
The slowdown in hiring in the industry has been happening for quite sometime now with Nasscom stating that total employment for the sector grew by 5% in FY17 as against 6% in FY16. “Gentle deceleration continues as industry focuses on productivity and automation,” it had said.
Unlike the layoffs in the past where largely the lesser experienced professionals were impacted, this time there is downsizing across all levels. Cognizant recently announced a voluntary separation package for its employees.
Debashis Chatterjee, president, digital systems and technology, Cognizant, in an earlier interaction with FE said, “When we talk about reskilling there will be a situation where some people who will make the cut and some who may not want to make the cut. In this process, we are offering the voluntary separation package to eligible leaders, which is a very small percentage of our total workforce — at the director to senior vice-president level.”