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Satyam pep talk falls flat on 2,000 jittery employees

Switch off your TV and don’t read the newspapers,stop believing rumours,” says one of the mails from top officials of Satyam Computer Services that the employees found in their inbox on Thursday.

Written by Arun Jayan | January 9, 2009 1:03:14 am

Company sends mail promising jobs safe,yet staff wonder

Switch off your TV and don’t read the newspapers,stop believing rumours,” says one of the mails from top officials of Satyam Computer Services that the employees found in their inbox on Thursday.

An IT company is rarely known to guarantee employees’ jobs,but Satyam has been doing just that in its e-mails to employees. “No lay-offs,retrenchments,” – was the management’s assurance in an e-mail,an employee said.

Even as assurance mails from Satyam officials along with support mails from many clients like Oracle,ICICI Prudential and IBM are flooding the inbox of Satyam employees in the city,many are yet to come to terms with the reality: that their lives will never be the same any more. The company has three facilities in the city and around 2,000 hands.

Yet,23-year-old Adarsh,who has been with the firm for only nine months,believes his company will bounce back. “I have full faith in company officials and they have assured me in a mail that 40 senior associates with the company won’t quit the firm,” he said.

Spend a little time at a small open teashop near the Dhole Patil centre that employs around 300 to understand what the employees really feel. The mood is not as upbeat as the company strives to make with all those pep talks.

“We are neither in nor out of the office,” says Avinash,software engineer who has been with Satyam for four years now and was getting calls regularly from the headhunters till three days before the cat was out of the bag. “I am looking for other jobs. I have a family to support,” says Aaron,32,who joined three years ago.

There are many who are working on bonds and for them the uncertainty and confusion are agonising. “Many of my colleagues are keeping their fingers crossed. And we are getting assurances from top officials that the new management will take care of Satyam. So I don’t know what to do,” says Divya,who joined the company on a bond.

“There is no job assurance. They will do what they have to do. The safety factor is not there,” says Aniket,who has been with Satyam for four years. “We are a team of 25,and all of us have shot off CVs to other firms,” says Suryansh.

Few have got calls from prospective employers. Some placement agencies had called for details,but nothing much happened. “Even credit card companies,when they call,hang up when they realise we are from Satyam,” says Rahul.

Deepak Shikharpur,president,Computer Society of India,said: “A few people from the company had come to see me and they were worried whether they would even get the January salary as the former CEO has said the company has no cash. Plus most customers are moving away — they are wary of doing business with Satyam anymore. All these show that every one of the 53,000 employees of Satyam will be affected,only the degree will vary.”

A Satyam spokeswoman in Hyderabad said it was business as usual at all its centres. “The message from Satyam CEO Ram Maynampati assuring that everything will be put in order has been passed to every employee. The new team will take care of the situation and there is no need to panic,” she said.

(Employees’ names changed)

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