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State labour minister orders investigation into complaints of job loss in IT sector

IT unions have started receiving complaints from employees about forced retrenchment and employees being asked to apply for leave to coincide with the lockdown period.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | April 11, 2020 9:17:44 pm
Asymptomatic coronavirus carriers: How contagious are they? The lay-offs are not in line with the state or central government’s directives. Express Photo: Pavan Khengre

Maharashtra Labour Minister Dilip Walse Patil has ordered Pune’s additional labour commissioner to investigate complaints about lay-offs happening in the city’s IT sector. Speaking to The Indian Express, Walse Patil confirmed that such layoffs and leave are not in line with the government’s directions and action can be taken against such companies.

“Such lay-offs and forced leaves during this period are completely not in line with the state or central government’s directives,” he said.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, which was extended till April 30 by the Maharashtra government on Saturday, both the central and state government have issued guidelines to companies, asking them not to retrench their employees or treat the period of lockdown as a leave.

The software companies were asked to implement work from home mode much earlier than other sectors. Companies had started staggering their workforce and implementing work from home well before the general lockdown was announced.

However, IT unions have started receiving complaints from employees about forced retrenchment and employees being asked to apply for leave to coincide with the lockdown period.

Harpreet Saluja, general secretary of the National Information Technology Sena (NITS), said the organisation has started receiving complaints, mostly from small and mid-size companies, about mass layoffs. “What seems to have happened is that these companies have lost their overseas clients and in turn, they are laying off their employees,” he said.

Saluja said he receives 8-10 complaints about such layoffs every day. Till date, nearly 30 complaints have been raised with the office of the additional labour commissioner in this regard.

Pawanjit Mane, Maharashtra head of the Forum of IT Employees (FITE), said the organisation has also received complaints about forced leaves and retrenchments. Mane alleged that the companies are taking advantage of the lockdown to reduce their staff. “Their arguments about losses do not hold water as they have made profits across the year,” he said.

Walse Patil said he has asked the additional labour commissioner to look into the complaints and take necessary action.

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