Minutes of Meeting: Chennai 27 Dec 2014

Discussion with Legal & Labour Law Experts in Chennai: 27.12.14

The meeting started by 5.30 pm. People who have got the termination letter (conveying a message that “you will be out in 30 days from now”), those who are informed of ‘release’ from projects, those who are not in ‘immediate job threat’ but sensed the need to stand for their colleagues, members of Young Tamil Nadu Movement(YTM) belong to different IT firms were all the attendees of the meeting.

Parimala of YTM started with an introduction of YTM, the campaign against TCS layoffs and narration of summary of calls from various locations. Following that, Nazar and Samantha briefed their call experiences with affected TCSers across India.

The victims who have got termination letter and counting the days revealed their shocking experience. There are people who started their career in TCs and
spent a decade over there, won long service awards but received the termination letter. There are onsite returnees also who were identified for this illegal termination termed by TCS as’workforce restructuring’.

General pattern is ‘a call from HR to come for a discussion. The HR would call and say that you are a consecutive ‘C’ rater and give a letter which in essence says that “Requirements of the organization and the role you have been playing in the organization and skill set or competencies
that you possess are reviewed by us. Conclusion of that review is that your continued job is not warranted”.

Normally, the ‘associate’ get backs to his/her reporting manager, Group Leader to check ‘What is going on?’. They talk with the ‘identified person’ with great helplessness. In a short interval of time, HR sets a deadline to collect this
termination letter after signing it. Finally, ‘associate’ would collect the termination letter from the HR.

In general, all have a family which is dependent on these employees getting sacked. So, it is a serious issue of a family getting affected. The affected employees said, “Is being a ‘C’ rater (meeting expectations) an ‘under performer’? Company is a leading performer in the industry but the 10% of its Senior level experienced employees are “under performers”?

Did it take these many years for TCS to realize that I am an under performer?’ ‘I have appreciation letters from client”, As I had taken maternity leave, I have given ‘C’ rating which is perceived as normal one for an young mother, Onsite returnee will always be given a ‘C’ rating with a reasoning that you have earned already”.

Shockingly there is another revelation in the meeting. It is said that this is not TCS specific policy decision. This is due to a policy shift at industry level. The existing employee structure (pyramid) within the industry will be incompatible by 2020.

It is in fact a flaw in business model. So, the width of middle level employees has to be reduced. TCS will be followed by Wipro and three other companies in the upcoming year for this ‘workforce restructuring’. There is little chance for these experienced, high CTC employees to find a job in the market. This has been identified in a report (Mckensy) which speaks on these facts. This has to be explored as soon as possible to understand the bigger picture.

Then Mr J.Chidambaranathan, legal consultant with a vast experience in labour issues, after looking into the termination letter and observing all this utterances, said that the termination can be challenged legally. The consultant insisted that it is always better to face the court through a union or association to impersonalize the legal battle and that body will bear the risk. But unfortunately, ITians don’t have such forms till now. If ITians have any network/organized forms, then they could face this crisis by demanding the Government to intervene. Because, Government has responsibility to protect them and their livelihood. With a short speech, he has brought in hopes that a lonely IT professional may be helpless but a collective of IT professionals can challenge, question and make the society and government to speak for them.

It was discussed that the powerful corporates are in a network ‘NASSCOM’ for their benefits. But the powerless IT employees are forced to be ‘individuals’ and the corporate is criminalizing the employees if they are trying to get together. An IT professional in the industry have done enough and enough of compromises like extra working hours, working in weekends, national holidays, festival days, unjust rating with a single hope that he has a job in hand. At last, the job itself is at stake which could not be compromised at all.

There is no choice left to us other than to speak for us, stand for us and make our beloved colleagues to realize that it is not an issue of any single Assistant Consultant (AST) or Associate Consultant (ASC) in TCS. Rather the job threat is meant for all TCSers and it is in fact an issue of all employees in IT industry.

Last round of discussion driven by YTM leading body get concluded with below action plan.

  1. Launching an online petition addressing the Labour Ministry, IT ministry to intervene immediately to stop this massive termination by TCS.
    2. Organizing demonstrations bringing in thousands of IT professionals for the above demand
    3. Simultaneously challenging the termination legally.
    4. Forming a network of IT employees to ensure job security

Parimala,
“We Are Against TCS” Campaign Team