Pune: Labour office notice to Tech Mahindra on alleged pay cuts

Pune: IT Services firm Tech Mahindra has been issued a notice by the office of the Labour Commissioner, Pune, in Maharashtra on a complaint that the company had reduced salaries of its employees to maintain "profitability' in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar notice was issued earlier this month to another IT firm, Wipro Technologies Ltd, on a complaint alleging that the firm was benching its employees.

National Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), an organisation working for the welfare and benefits of employees in IT industry, had approached the Labour Commissioner's Office, claiming that they have received complaints from employees of Tech Mahindra, Pune, regarding the reduction in salaries to maintain the "profitability of the business" under the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The company had also notified its employees through an email on May 6 that the shift allowance, which is between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per employee, will be stopped from May 1," the complaint letter from NITES reads.

The application further claimed that because of this decision, payment of over 13,000 employees of Tech Mahindra is reduced.

The NITES sought appropriate legal action against Tech Mahindra stating that the firm has violated the Maharashtra government's directions, rules and regulations.

In a notice issued on the same date, officials in the Labour Commissioner's Office directed the firm to go through the state government's resolution dated March 31, 2020, and take appropriate steps and release the salaries for March and April and to inform the labour commissioner's office.

The notice, signed by Nikhil Walke, Assistant Labour Commissioner, asked the firm not to terminate employees or reduce the salaries, and further stated that otherwise legal action will be taken.

Tech Mahindra Spokesperson 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 the office or are at client locations as per policy.

"Our focus remains to ensure the well-being of our associates, customers and partner eco-system while maintaining business continuity".

Meanwhile, in its notice dated May 1 to Wipro Technologies Ltd on an NITES complaint that the company was benching its employees, the Pune Labour Commissioner Office asked the IT firm to respond and not terminate any employees.

Harpreet Saluja, general secretary, NITES, said they had approached the labour commissioner's office after they received complaints from employees of WIPRO BPO, located in Hinjewadi regarding employees being put on the bench to maintain profitability.

"The company also notified the employees on April 23 that they are on the bench with immediate effect. Because of this (the decision of the company) the pay and jobs of more than 300 employees are at risk," the complaint reads.

A statement from Wipro Limited stated that the speculation related to the workforce is unfounded and has no basis.

"Wipro categorically denies these rumours. There are no salary cuts for employees who are in between projects and are awaiting new assignments. 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," the statement reads.

It further stated that Wipro is yet to receive any communication from the Labour Department.

The company will present the facts before the department, as and when required.

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