New Delhi, March 11: Pune-based employee union for IT/ITes firms Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) has filed a complaint with the Labour Commissioner’s office in Pune to take legal action against Tata Technologies, Hinjewadi, Pune. Reportedly, Tata Technologies terminates 800 people and the employees received an email of termination.
Harpreet Saluja, President, NITES said they have received several complaints from employees of Tata Technologies, Hinjewadi, Pune on being “illegally terminated under the pretext of maintaining the profitability of the business during the pandemic.”
Tata Technologies terminates 800 people
Saluja explained that the IT firm had put around 400 employees on furlough in June 2020, which essentially meant that they were on the rolls of the firm, and had access to corporate insurance but would not get their monthly compensation.
These employees continued to be on leave without pay till December 31, 2020. Later, Tata Technologies terminates 800 people through email.
“IT firms such as Tata Technologies fall under the purview of The Industrial Disputes Act and the Shops and Establishments Act, where there is no concept of furlough, making it illegal,” Saluja told in an interview.
On March 1, Saluja said around 800-1000 employees received an email of termination. According to the mail sent to employees, Tata Technologies said that since the company has not been able to get any billable assignments for the employees they are being asked to leave.
“This is in furtherance to our email dated 5 Feb 21, regarding the extension of the option conveyed to you in respect of proceeding on paid and unpaid leaves till March 31, 2021. Please note that the company has made efforts to find billable assignments for you during the period of your paid and unpaid leaves with the company. However, you may note that unfortunately the company has been unable to find billable assignments for you which commensurate with your work experience, job expertise and qualification,” said the email sent to employees.
Tata Technologies terminates 800 people, NITES files complaint
“The company has failed to pay the salary of these employees for the last eight months. Because of this illegal termination initiated on 1st March 2021 now jobs of more than 800 employees are at risk.
The company has violated Maharashtra state Government’s directions, rules and regulations issued on 31st March 2020 and other statutory labour laws,” wrote NITES in its complaint to the Labour Commissioner, Pune.
“We expect state/central government authorities to update us with a framework to tackle such a situation. We expect related authorities to take strict measures and set an example to avoid such insensitive behaviour towards employees in future,” the letter stated.
Tata Technologies refuted the claims about terminating 800 employees. “Based on our discussions with a section of our employees, who were already on the bench, they had opted to proceed on paid leave followed by unpaid leave for a period of time. However, they continued to be on the rolls of the Company and were also covered under the Company’s health insurance policy along with their immediate family members during this phase,” said the company’s spokesperson.
He added, “We were successful in redeploying nearly 18% of this talent pool in projects that came through the year since then. However, following the passage of significant time, we are culminating our relationship with the remaining set of these employees while adhering to all statutory norms.”
TATA Technologies denied allegations
TATA Technologies’ spokesperson in a statement denied the allegations and said, “We categorically deny claims being circulated in the social media about 800 employees being terminated by Tata Technologies. This statement is false and sensational in nature and seeks to add colour to a business process undertaken over six months ago.”
In July 2020, the company had put around 400 employees on bench as it saw business slowing down due to the pandemic. These employees on bench were not provided with any salary but where eligible for medical insurance, complained employees to whom Business Standard has spoken. And on March 1, 2021 these employees received termination notices.
“Since June last year we have not been paid any salary. And now suddenly we have been told that March 31 is our last day of work and as per contract we will only get one months’ salary. What about the salary that they did not pay us when we were on bench?” said an employee who has been asked to leave.
Harpreet Saluja, President NITES said that they received complaints from employees of Tata Technologies and hence they took the matter to the Labour department. “We are yet to solve the earlier issue of keeping employees on furlough (bench) and now they have sent termination notice. This is not fair,” said Saluja.
TATA Technologies spokesperson further explained, “In July 2020, in response to the business challenges arising out of the pandemic situation we had undertaken measures to make Tata Technologies a nimble, responsive and flexible organization. Based on our discussions with a section of our employees, who were already on the bench, they had opted to proceed on paid leave followed by unpaid leave for a period of time. However, they continued to be on the rolls of the Company and were also covered under the Company’s health insurance policy along with their immediate family members during this phase. We were successful in redeploying nearly 18% of this talent pool in projects that came through the year since then. However, following the passage of significant time, we are culminating our relationship with the remaining set of these employees while adhering to all statutory norms.”