Even as a mass petition, protest demonstrations and social media campaigns against a purportedly large-scale retrenchment at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have emerged, the company maintains there is nothing out of the ordinary.
While TCS says involuntary attrition will be 1-2% of its total workforce of 3,13,000, company insiders and industry sources say the actual number would be far higher. Employee sources claim thousands of staff are being laid off by being taken off work or informally being asked to go.
According to them, fresh workers are being hired while seniors are being let to go. The company has officially announced it will hire about 55,000 in 2014-15 while it has undertaken a restructuring in a sign of a workforce churn.
Protests started in the last one week in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Kochi. The Federation of IT Employees (FITE), an organisation formed last week in Chennai in response to the developments within TCS, is spearheading the campaign with a mass petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to stop this "indiscriminate termination."
Over 3,000 people have sig-ned up online for the petition.
FITE has held a meeting of those sacked by TCS in Kochi, and is planning a demonstration in the city on Tuesday and one in Bangalore thereafter.
According to FITE founding member Bharatidasan, TCS has asked 700 employees in Hyderabad, 470 in Bangalore, 480 in Chennai, 70 in Pune and 20 in Kochi to leave, while several hundreds were told by their managers that they would be called by HR.
"We would like to reiterate that our total global annual involuntary attrition is 1-2%," a TCS spokesperson said.
Some of the aggrieved employees in Bangalore met deputy labour commissioner but did not lodge a petition fearing blacklisting. A FITE member said the organisation is mulling legal recourse.
A middle-level executive in TCS said the January-March quarter will see large-scale layoffs. "The actual involuntary attrition this year will be higher than what the company has projected as many employees have been pulled out from projects, benched and asked to resign rather than being sacked outright," he said.
"The attrition this quarter will shoot up from 12.5% to 20%," he added. Responding to reports that the company is planning to restructure its workforce in the middle-to-senior management, Ajoyendra Mukherjee, global HR head had said last month: "Workforce optimisation is a continuous process that happens throughout the year taking into account employee performance, business needs, and people aspirations. This leads to some amount of involuntary attrition in the company".
TCS last month said revenue growth in the current financial year would be lower than that of the previous year, backtracking from far more optimistic projections it had made earlier.