Tata technologies were founded in the year 1989, situated in Pune, India. It is one of the largest firms in India. Tata Technologies provides services in product lifecycle management, engineering and design, product development, manufacturing, and IT service management to automotive and aerospace original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers.
The company has branches in North America, Middle eastern countries, the Asia-specific region, and Europe. They have their regional headquarters in the United States. The company has around 8,000 employees which is their global workforce since they operate in more than 25 countries.
There was a recent controversy against Tata technologies which said that they had illegally terminated around 800 – 1000 employees.
Why Tata terminated 800 people
In June 2020 Tata Technologies has put around 400 employees on Furlough. In simple terms, furlough is a temporary leave that is given to employees due to certain needs of the company or employer. It can be because of special needs like economic conditions.
June 2020, when the lockdown was imposed in India and the company saw its business slowing down during the pandemic. This was the reason for putting the employees on Furlough.
According to the company, the employees on furlough would be part of the company and would have access to their corporate insurance. But the employees wouldn’t receive their monthly salary until their furlough is removed. These 400 employees were asked to continue their leave until 31 December 2020.
On 1 March 2021, around 800 – 1000 employees received an email of termination from the company. The email had the content which said that the employees would receive a month’s salary and 31 March 2021 would be their last working day. The employees will be terminated without providing them their compensations, when they were on furlough.
The email received by the employees said that they were being asked to leave since the company was not able to find any billable assignments for its employees. The company has also stated that during the employee’s paid and unpaid leaves.
The company stated that, they tried to find billable assignments for employees. But unfortunately, they couldn’t find billable assignments according to the employees proportionate job expertise, work experience, and qualification.
NITES's involvement in the Scenario
NITES is an employee union that is a non-profit organization. It is based in Pune, Maharashtra. NITES (Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate). NITES has received several complaints from the employees of Tata regarding the termination.
Harpreet Saluja, the president of NITES has filed a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s office in Pune. NITES has filed a complaint to take legal actions against Tata technologies, Hinjewadi, Pune. NITES filed a complaint stating that the employees were illegally terminated for maintaining the profitability of the business, during the pandemic.
According to the purview of the Industrial Disputes Act and the Shops and Establishment Act, IT firms like Tata technologies can’t implement Furlough. The concept of Furlough is considered illegal for IT firms.
In the complaint which was filed to the Labor Commissioner Pune, NITES wrote that the company has violated the Statutory Labor Laws and other rules and regulations issued on 31 March 2020 by the Government of Maharashtra.
NITES has stated that they are expecting the authorities of the state/central government to take necessary actions towards the company. They would want the authorities to provide them with a basic structure to handle such situations.
They would want the authorities to take strict actions so that this can be an example to other companies, also the rights of the employees would be protected. This incidence should avoid such insensitive behavior towards employees in the future. This was stated in the complaint letter provided by NITES.
What Tata has to say
Tata Technologies have refused such claims. It stated that they haven’t terminated 800 employees. They had a discussion with a selected set of employees and according to the discussion they had opted for paid leave and later on followed by unpaid leave. This was for a specific period of time.
The company also stated that these employees were still part of the company and received health and medical insurance from the company. Tata has claimed that even their immediate family members were covered under their corporate insurance policy.
The company said, due to the arising business challenges during July 2020 because of the lockdown in India. They had taken measures to make Tata technologies an agile, flexible, and responsive organization. They have said that the statement by NITES is not true.
Do employers have to pay for layoffs?
Generally employees who lose their jobs in a layoff have no automatic right to severance pay but there are few exceptions-Mass layoff severance. The company has to provide a small amount of severance.
Can you be rehired after being laid off?
Yes, There are are no laws prohibiting employers from rehiring laid-off employees.
Who qualifies for furlough?
You can be furloughed whether you are on a full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contract, but you must have been on your employer's payroll before the extension was announced.
The spokesperson of the company has stated that they were successful in assigning 18% of their employees with new tasks and projects. Meanwhile, the company has been trying to communicate and maintain the relationship with the remaining set of employees sticking to their statutory norms.