Verizon Data Services Sacks 1200 Staff Across India, Employee Alleges Bouncers Used To Intimidate Them Into Forceful Resignation

15 Dec 2017 9:31 AM GMT
Verizon Data Services Sacks 1200 Staff Across India, Employee Alleges Bouncers Used To Intimidate Them Into Forceful Resignation

As many as 1,200 employees of Verizon Data Services India have been laid off across Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru offices.

Sacked employees through the Forum for IT Employees (FITE), which has members from around 50 IT/ITeS companies, have approached the labor departments of Telangana and Tamil Nadu to explain the current situation and problems faced by them, said a report by the Financial Express.

Layoffs in large numbers

Verizon India is an IT and technology center with operations in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc. This company has 7,000 employees in India.

The company said in a statement, “As Verizon consolidates its strategy so we can scale, compete and continue to be successful, Verizon’s IT including Verizon Data Services India, is transforming into an engineering-centric technology organisation. The transformation entails rationalisation of roles which has an impact on the headcount.” The company does not mention the exact number of employees affected. The statement further read, “We are doing role rationalisation not to meet a specific number but to match the talent with the requirements of the business for its future.”

The worst is yet to come. An anonymous VDSI employee commented on popular website for discussing breaking news/ rumors about layoffs) “Verizon India started the layoffs… and expecting 50% layoff… approximately around 3500 by Feb 2018. This is true and not just a rumour.” The parent company also has seen a wave of layoffs this year, especially after Verizon merged Yahoo and AOL to form Oath earlier this year. Over 2,000 employees were handed pink slips in June 2017, a 15% reduction in the workforce, followed by another 500 jobs eliminated last month.

Sajan Pokkodan, Verizon India’s corporate communication head said, “We are getting technology-centric for which we are conducting a Role Rationalising Exercise. Several jobs roles are being eliminated due to change in technologies in the global market.”

What does the welfare unions have to say?

According to a report by the Business Today, the convenor of Union of IT and ITES employees (UNITE), Alagunambi Welkin said, “We have come to know that VDS India has targeted to retrench 993 of its employees in band 7 to band 3 through forced resignation.” The union also claimed that some employees in the Chennai office, falling in the senior management band, were escorted out of their cabins by security yesterday, without any prior notification.

IT employees welfare groups have said that they will go to any extent to seek justice for those who were retrenched. “The IT industry has reached a new low. We might be cheap labour, but is this the way a professional must be treated?” asked Kiran Chandra, Member, Forum of IT Professionals in Hyderabad.

Employees allege intimidation to forceful resignation

According to a report by The Newsminute, employees were allegedly intimidated to leave the company. An employee of the telecommunications company who had been working with the organisation for six years, walked into his office in Hyderabad, as he would on any other day.

A member of the HR team summoned him to their office and told to clear his desk and take everything along. As he understood the matter, he went to meet the HR team with an intention to clarify matters. As he arrives at the meeting, things became clear that were no scope of negotiation at all.

At the meeting, there were not only HR personnel but also a counsellor and “bouncers”. “They simply said that they were going to fire me. So I either had to sign to documents or they would forcefully terminate me,” the employee said. “I refused to sign, demanded some think over it and started getting up to leave. That is when the bouncers came in,” he further explained.

He was allegedly made to sit down forcefully despite protesting against the violation of his rights. The bouncers held him by his shoulders till he signed the document.

Another employee told The New Indian Express, “The delivery managers and the senior project managers had a meeting a few days ago and all of this is planned. The word in the office is that employees are being escorted out by security guards is to avoid emotional outbursts and prevent certain key files from being deleted by revenge.”

Employees in Chennai also narrated similar accounts from the retrenchment process. An employee told The Newsminute, “It was such a traumatic experience. I have worked for the company for eight years and they made me leave. The retrenchment was done for employees across the scale but mostly seniors.”

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