The Pune labour commissioner has sent a notice to Tech Mahindra over complaints that it has suspended shift allowances to its India-based employees.
Tech Mahindra is the latest among several tech firms, including Wipro and Amdocs, that has received notices from the labour commissioner after complaints from National Information Technology Employees Sena (Nites).
The Pune-based union has claimed that Tech Mahindra’s decision to reduce compensation effective May violates a central government order not to cut salaries or lay off people during the lockdown.
A company spokesperson, however, said, “The shift allowance paid for hardship due to travel to work at odd hours and other out-of-pocket expenses continues to be paid to all Tech Mahindra associates who are coming to office or are at client locations as per policy.”
India’s fifth largest IT services firm has more than a tenth of its 125,000 workforce based in Pune, where it is headquartered.
“We have received several complaints from IT workers in Pune about being put on the bench or being asked to file for leave during this lockdown which is illegal,” said Raghunath Kuchik, founder of Nites. “We have filed complaints with the labour commissioner of Pune and they have asked the respective companies for an explanation,” he said.
Last week, it had filed a complaint against Wipro for allegedly benching about 300 employees and reducing their salaries.
“We have not issued a show-cause notice to the (Wipro) company, just forwarded a copy of the complaint against them and asked them to respond,” said Vikas Panvelkar, deputy commissioner of labour, Maharashtra. “We need both sides of the issue.”
Wipro denied the allegation.
“There are no salary cuts for employees who are in between projects and are awaiting new assignments,” the company said in a statement. “Also, the company wants to reiterate that there are no retrenchment plans. Wipro has well defined policies and people practices in place to take care of its employees.”
Wipro said it has not received any communication from the labour department. “The company will present the facts before the department, as and when required,” it said.
A similar complaint had been filed against Amdocs BPO in Pune, where the union alleged that about 150 employees have been asked to leave.
Denying the allegation, a company spokesperson said, “While Amdocs continuously reviews its workforce needs in alignment with business requirements, no Amdocs employees have been terminated in India as a result of the coronavirus situation.”
Sc to hear Nites petition this week
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on May 15 a petition by Nites alleging “salary cuts” and “mass termination” of employees by IT and BPO companies. The case has been tagged with petitions by employer bodies and industry associations that have opposed a government directive to pay salaries and not retrench during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition filed last week calls to prevent the violation of the directive issued by the Union labour ministry to chief secretaries of all states on March 29 to ensure that private and public companies do not terminate or cut salaries of employees during this period.
The petition alleges that several technology companies were either sacking people or cutting salaries of those who are on the bench during the lockdown, said senior advocate Devadatt Kamat who is representing Nites in the case.
A mail to National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) seeking comments on the petition remained unanswered as of press time Sunday.