Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a pioneer in the Indian IT sector has its presence not just in India but in various countries throughout the world. In the first week of December 2014, the media reported that the company is going to perform restructuring activity and it could affect 25000 of its employees, in the name of ‘work force optimization’ and ‘business needs’. The targeted employees for this exercise are in the category of more than 7 years of experience and those holding the posts of Assistant Consultant (AST) and Associate Consultant (ASC). Those who were hailed as the Pillars of TCS are now being expelled with the label of ‘underperformers’. The affected TCSers who approached us quoted that the HR manager cited more ‘C’ grades in the last three appraisals. We have also received reports that the employees in onsite and with ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades too got affected in this termination drive.
Most of the affected employees are 30+ years old, married, parents of one or two kids, repaying housing loan EMIs and other personal loans. The employment with TCS is the only source of their income. The financial report of TCS in April this year shows about 37.7% increase in their profit compared to last financial year. TCS is evidently not running in loss. There is no economic recession that could affect TCS business now. It is now evident that the only objective of this massive job termination of senior employees is to earn more profit by recruiting the less experienced IT professionals. This is what termed as ‘workforce optimization’ by TCS.
This is not a routine one. TCS is terming it as ‘involuntary attrition’. But, it is not the case. Whatever happening inside TCS is well planned, systematic termination of experienced employees under the AST category and above positions.
Performance Appraisal – Neither transparent nor Scientific :
The performance evaluation process followed currently is a questionable mechanism. Below facts will justify it.
1.When an employee works at onsite (client location at abroad), he/she generally get ‘C’ band or below.
2.Even an outperforming women employee would get grade ‘C’ if she goes in maternity leave in that appraisal year.
3.When 100 employees work in a project, only a certain percentage of employees can get each performance band (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’). So even if 10 employees outperforms in all perspective, not all of them can get ‘A’ band. Even if none of the employees performs poor, certain percentage of employees will get ‘E’ band. This is being called as “Curve fitting”.
4.An employee who gets ‘C’ band in a project can be a much better performer than an employee who gets ‘B’ band in another project.
When we consider above facts, how is it logical to brand an employee as a non-performer based on these appraisal process? And how is it justified to terminate the employees working across different projects, different cities (Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, Noida, Cochin, or Delhi) based on these illogical appraisal system.
Inhumane termination process:
The TCS employees ‘identified’ for this termination drive are being called by HR manager, and asked to sign and receive the letter with little explanation. There are cases where the HR is threatening the employee to receive the termination/relieving letter within an hour time. Is it not an inhumane act?
Profit-driven job terminations:
Below is the total revenue break down of TCS for the fiscal year 2014.
Total Cost savings after lay off
*5,00,000 X 25,000 = 12,50,00,00,000, which is around 6% of the net profit TCS made in the FY 2014
That means TCS ‘layoffs’ 25,000 employees, puts their life & families future in dark to increase its profit from INR 19,331 crores to INR 20,581 crores.
Policy shift in IT industry:
TCS is fast moving towards reducing the number of employees who are above the level of AST to less than six percent, reducing the number of ITA’s to 18%, and increasing the number of people in the rest of the lower rung to 73%. A higher level employee from TCS has shared the information that ITA’s would also be terminated soon following the termination of ASC’s and AST’s.
Moreover, some reports say that this is not an isolated action from the TCS, whereas it is a policy decision taken for the whole of the IT sector. Since the existing pyramid structure would become obsolete in 2020, large number of middle level employees would be sent home. Wipro has announced that it would lay off 50,000 employees in the next three years. This is nothing but throwing the experienced employees to trash after sucking the juice out of them for ten odd years.
“We are Against TCS Layoff” Campaign
In this backdrop, Young Tamil Nadu Movement, which was formed by IT professionals six years back, started campaigning against the lay-offs from last Monday (December 22, 2014). For the campaign, a Facebook page, “We are against TCS layoff,” was launched and attracted more than 5000 likes. The campaign also took in the form of pamphlets distribution and pasted stickers across OMR, Chennai. Following this, the affected people and those who are not affected, but who are against the layoffs are reaching out to us continuously. We’re receiving calls from all over India, especially from cities like Hyderabad, Cochin, Bangalore, Pune, and Noida and also from abroad. A discussion with the affected employees has happened last Saturday to challenge the issue legally. Some of them came forward to take legal recourse against this injustice by TCS.
The IT sector, which has several lakhs of employees, does not have a network or a body to safeguard their jobs and consequentially their employee rights. As a first step to face this crisis, a network among IT employees needs to be formed. In addition to facing this legally, labour welfare departments of the Central and State governments should also be pressurized to intervene and stop the layoffs immediately.
We are launching this forum to bring all IT/ITES employees together under one network. Any IT/ITES employee who is presently working within India or at onsite deputation from India (employment location is India), and holding an Indian citizenship can join the forum.
FITE’s immediate demands
- We demand TCS to release detailed report of ongoing job termination of its own employees in black and white immediately.
- We call upon the Union and State governments to intervene in this matter immediately and stop this massive illegal job termination in TCS.
FITE’s Immediate action plan :
- To launch a e-petition campaign demanding the Prime Minister of India, Minister for Information Technology and the Minister for Labour Welfare to stop the illegal termination of employees carried out by the TCS calling them as “non- performers”
- To meet the affected people in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and Delhi and make efforts to acquire legal remedy.
- To meet the Central and State Ministers for Labour Welfare and IT Ministry to explain the issue.
- To demand the Central and State governments to intervene immediately into this issue through demonstrations.