TCS Layoff: The Human Cost of Corporate Profits

By The Editor 

I always use to wonder why IT employees in general are called “Resources”, not employees, not personnel but resources.  Only later when sacked from a project I realized why it was so, we are all expendables. Billing and revenue is all that matters in this industry and nowhere it is more apparent than the huge layoffs in TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) which can result in about 25000 people loosing their jobs. If taken into account that average Indian family to a size of four. It’s going to affect 1,00,000 lives.

 Is this justified in any sense moral or economic? Speaking in the business terms, companies live for profits, its how they survive and its their primary goal, there is no problem with that but public corporations have a lot more fiscal influence than simple quarterly profits. They create jobs, keep the economy rolling and directly and indirectly are responsible for millions of livelihoods. If that wouldn’t have been the case the government wouldn’t have intervened in Satyam affair and US Federal Reserve would not have bailed out Investment banks. Investors, employees have expectations from companies like TCS to perform, grow and provide opportunities. Sacking people right and left with no apparent reason of recession or loss would have a debilitating effect on morale and can have far reaching repercussions for the company.

 Even if profit margins are concerned then why not offer the option of salary cuts throughout the corporate spectrum or may be not giving pay raise or bonuses for sometime. Airline companies like American started doing this and they were able to stall bankruptcy for a very long time about six years after delta filed bankruptcy in 2005 but they were fighting to fend off liquidation in an industry where it is a norm but TCS has no such solvency problem than why not show such initiative? Now taking about the growth excuse, a developer, analyst or a project lead for that matter does not make bidding or strategic decisions for an IT company. Their job is to get testing, deployment and analysis done on time. It’s the job of VPs, executives and everyone with fancy titles to get new projects, to give the company a winning edge. If a company cannot make use of 25000 highly skilled individuals with years of experience than who is to blame, the management or the employee?

 Moreover this is like setting an example of other IT companies that they can do away with thousands of employees whenever they want. Today there are 25000 senior employees, who is to say tomorrow this won’t befall on 30000 junior or 55000 mid level techies. Despite all this people work for long hours on sometimes not so sustainable wages putting up with tantrums and red tape that client and company throws at them.

 Looking at the human side now, what analysts on TV casually describe as a normal layoff is somebody’s husband or father who has bills, mortgages to pay. Did executives who signed their pink slip thought about where this person will pay his home loan installment or for operation of his ailing parents. Several families have been left out in the blue, their are not enough positions to absorb all these people and all done in the name of increasing profit margin. If this would have happened in a government bank, there would have been another Lokpal like protest in the streets but why everyone is quiet? Well its private sector, so do we turn a blind eye.

 Is it justified to put future of a family at risk so that someone can take a handsome amount of bonus home?  Thousands of people out of the job will put strain on the other business aspects too, landlords might loose their tenants, restaurants their customers and school their students. If those who earn revenue of the company get axed than what to say about people in Marketing, Finance and HR department, it can happen to anyone.

 Indian government and judicial system has an obligation to fulfill here, towards those ordinary people who cares all about earning bread twice a day for their loved ones. These are everyday Indians, not private property that can be trifled with.

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