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B'lore call centre shut, staff sacked

A British firm has decided to cease its India operations by handing over pink slips to its 93 employees without notice.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2006 02:59 IST

British telecom firm Belair Communications has shut down its captive call centre in Bangalore and terminated the services of its 93 employees without compensating them.

According to the Union for ITES (IT-enabled services) professionals (UNITES), Belair Communications India Ltd suddenly decided to cease its India operations last month by handing over the pink slips to its entire staff without notice.

"The company neither paid salaries for May nor compensated the employees with termination benefits," the UNITES, a body for workers in the new economy sector, said on Saturday in a statement.

The Indian subsidiary of the British firm was registered with the state-owned Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) as an export unit and began its operations a year ago to provide transaction processing and call centre services to its customers back home.

The company, however, did not offer any reason for shutting shop abruptly.

"We have lodged a complaint with the Karnataka labour commissioner and requested the authorities to initiate action against the Belair under the Industrial Dispute Act 1947," the union said.

UNITES India general secretary R Karthik Shekhar told reporters though Nasscom, the software body, was informed about the closure and sought its intervention to protect the interests of the employees, no action was taken against the firm.

It may be recalled British energy firm Powergen relocated about 1,000 jobs last month from India in a bid to achieve economies of scale by cost cutting.

Similarly, the US-based Apple Computer shut its 20-member captive call centre in June. Another US data infrastructure product vendor - Pervasive Software too followed suit, citing high cost of operations in Bangalore.

Both the firms decided to outsource their work to third party Indian vendors.

STPI Bangalore director BV Naidu said a detailed inquiry would be conducted soon to ascertain the reasons for Belair to discontinue its India operations.