Cognizant - STOP ILLEGAL LAYOFF

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Dear All,

We, ‘All India Forum For IT/ITES Employees - AIFITE’, are a registered labour union for the employees working in IT/ITES sector across India and working toward the betterment of the IT community in our country and representing the employees. FITE is the first labour union in India. We have operations across India.

Hope you are doing well and safe & work at home mostly.

As the world is facing a life threat due to covid-19 pandemic, all the industries and its associated employees are affected severely. In this uncertain situation, many companies including the IT/ITES sector are making this as an opportunity and involving in unfair labour practices across the globe and India.

You all are aware that the employees in Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS), have been facing unfair labor practices through their HR department officials in recent days. The affected employees’ work locations are Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kochi, Kolkata and from their all campuses across India.

Please find below the list of unfair labour practices faced by the employees.

  1. The management (CTS) has been changing the working condition by not providing any project to the associates who are on bench more than 35 days.
  2. For the employees who are on bench more than 35 days have been threatened by the HR officials to submit resignation.
  3. Employees who are allocated in the project but provided with MS rating (poor performance rating) intentionally for the year 2019 were also threatened by the HR officials to submit resignation.  The management has taken the performance rating as a platform or strategy to initiate the separation process since the performance rating process itself is not a standard transparent process.
  4. The employees who were provided with MS rating, the management has not provided the incentive money to the employees which was part of their salary structure.
  5. The management terminated illegally & unethically many of their employees recently using this pandemic situation as an opportunity though they are achieving good profit unlike other industries since the employees with projects are working from home.

The CTS is having around 3 lakh employees all over the globe and they have sufficient projects on hand. However, the organization is focusing only on generating the balance sheet irrespective of the crisis happening all over the globe. The management kept their employees on bench intentionally which is against the work order condition (Industrial Dispute Act 1947, Section 9A - change in the condition of service) and threatens the employees to submit resignation.

As per the internal source, approximately there are 18,000 employees on bench and 27,000 employees (10% of the total headcount) who rated with poor performance intentionally. Now the management targeted for the employees are having more than 10 years experience, they are from the designations of Associate, Senior Associate, Manager. Totally 45,000 employees are getting affected now, it is the usual practice, they are continuing this illegal practice every year. Though they are firing the experienced employees on one side, they are recruiting the fresh & less experienced employees on the other side. Thus it is very clear the action is aiming for very high profit than current big profit.

For the last few weeks, the company HR officials have been continuously threatening and harassing many numbers of employees by using their performance rating and bench ageing as a reason. This act is completely against labour law and this should be considered as an involvement of unfair labour practice.

The employees who had been affected by the last year performance rating (MS – Last Rating) did not receive their incentive amount approximately Rs.45,000/- to Rs.1,50,000/- and also it affected their promotion cycle respectively.

As the situation of covid-19 uncertainty builds a lot of anxiety, stress and nightmares within the employees which lead to affect their medical conditions. In adding to this situation, the company’s unfair labour practice process is adding more fuel to the employee’s mental ailment leading to depression which should be stopped immediately.

However, it is very evident that the management has not followed any directions provided by the Govt(s) and involved in unethical and unfair labour practices mentioned above. 

In this Pandemic situation across the country, the extraordinary step of mass illegal layoffs/terminations must be immediately stopped by the management. This is the demand requested by the union AIFITE on behalf of the employees of the company.

All workers in the company have been being affected by these illegal procedures and practices. The management has deliberately dismissed the employees who were fighting for their rights through legal proceedings & threatened blacklisting in the background process in the past. It’s the threat to our country’s legal system and land of laws.

We sent the letter to CTS management on 29/05/2020 to reconsider the ongoing illegal mass terminations process, but we didn’t get any response from them. So we were forced to move further to seek the legal remedy from the Labour Ministry. We filed a group petition to the Tami Nadu Govt Labour Ministry on 12/06/2020 & 18/06/2020 and filed another petition to Union Govt of India Labour Ministry on 22/06/2020.

AIFITE requests the Govt & CTS to concede in full not only by abiding by the Indian Labour Laws and also from the humanitarian ground & interest of the people of the country which fight against the Corona Pandemic. We request Govt to order to stop the illegal procedures by CTS and to initiate immediate dialogue on the dispute to sort out the above issues. 

We are looking forward to the next hearings soon. We firmly believe that the Govt(s), CTS & the employees representatives will stop the illegal practices of the company and travel together for the growth of the company in the right and lasting way.

Please sign this petition to reach the officials and we will show our strength.

- Team FITE