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TCS slams rumours of large lay-offs

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has finally broken its silence on the controversy over large-scale lay-offs, saying the company hadn’t initiated, and wasn’t planning to initiate “large-scale exits” for any section of its staff, in any part of the organisation.

In a detailed break-up of the “involuntary attrition” for the first nine months of this year, TCS said the number of such employees was 2,574, or 0.8 per cent of its overall employee strength. The corresponding numbers for FY14 and FY13 were 2,203 and 2,132, respectively. “The total involuntary attrition for this financial year will be about one per cent,” TCS said.

The statement, expected to put to rest all speculation on the number of lay-offs, came just hours after the Madras High Court issued an interim injunction restraining the company’s management from terminating the job of an employee, for four weeks.

The order, issued by judge M Duraiswamy, related to a petition filed by an employee who alleged TCS had issued an order of termination on December 22 2014, for termination of service on January 21, 2015. In her petition the employee, an assistant consultant with the company, raised the matter of industrial dispute, invoking a solution under section 2-A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

In its statement, TCS termed the discussions on various social media about alleged large-scale lay-offs as entirely false, saying performance appraisals and associated processes were an integral part of the company’s operations. “TCS is the leader in the Indian IT (information technology) sector and has always built its organisation on strong employee values. We have consistently nurtured in-house talent and been the largest job creators in the country. Our leadership status continues to present many growth opportunities to all our employees. It is reflected in the fact that we have consistently had the highest employee retention levels in the sector,” the statement said.

In the past, the company has maintained involuntary attrition has accounted for one-two per cent of its total workforce, adding FY15 wouldn’t see any major change.

With a few employees taking up the issue on social media, a Chennai-based group called Young Tamil Nadu Movement has brought forward employees who have received pink slips from the company. The group has initiated an online campaign and created a page on social networking website Facebook called ‘We are against TCS layoff’. The group has also created the Forum for IT Employees, which is supporting employees planning to take legal action against TCS.

Meanwhile, the Bengaluru chapter of FITE has filed a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Labour of the city regarding lay-offs at TCS.

UNITES Professional, the only recognised employees’ union in the sector, hasn’t joined YTNM or FITE. “We have extended our solidarity with the employees, but these are sudden outbursts. We have been taking up issues of IT employees with industry for nine years. In the case of TCS, the issue is gathering steam because the employees who might have lost jobs are in their 30s or late 30s. The IT sector needs labour reforms and industry body Nasscom should look into this,” said Karthik Sekhar, general secretary of UNITES Professional.

As of September 30, 2014, TCS’ total employee headcount stood at 313,757. For FY15, it expects to exceed its hiring target of 55,000.

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