Pink slips and the IT Industry are pretty synonymous these days. In the first six months of this fiscal, six major IT firms, including Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro, reportedly reduced their headcount by over 4,000. But even so, news of 1,000-odd employees being let go does raise eyebrows. According to the Union of IT and ITES Employees (UNITE), Verizon Data Services India (VDSI) will be retrenching about 14% of its workforce across its Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore offices. VDSI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US-based Verizon Communications Inc.
“We have come to know that VDS India has targeted to retrench 993 of its employees in band 7 to band 3 through forced resignation,” said Alagunambi Welkin, the union’s convenor, to The Hindu. The union also claimed that some employees in the Chennai office, falling in the senior managers band, were escorted out of their cabins by security yesterday, without any prior notification.
“As Verizon consolidates its strategy so we can scale, compete and continue to be successful, Verizon’s IT, including Verizon Data Services India, is transforming into an engineering-centric, technology organisation. The transformation entails rationalisation of roles which has an impact on headcount,” the company said in a statement, but does not mention the exact number of employees affected. “We are doing role rationalisation not to meet a specific number but to match the talent with the requirements of the business for its future,” it added.
The worst may be yet to come. An anonymous VDSI employee commented on thelayoff.com, a pretty popular website for discussing breaking news/rumours about layoffs that gets around 5 lakh visitors monthly: “Verizon India started the layoffs… and expecting 50% layoff – approx 3500 by Feb 2018. It’s true and I am an employee here and still working.”
In fact, the parent company, too, has seen a wave of layoffs this year, especially after Verizon merged Yahoo and AOL to form Oath earlier this year. Over 2,000 employees were handed pink slips in June 2017, a 15% reduction in the workforce, followed by another 500 jobs eliminated last month.
According to the Experis IT Employment Outlook Survey, released by Experis IT ManpowerGroup India in October, hiring intentions across the IT sector in India will further weaken till March 2018. “The collective number of layoffs that the IT giants are contemplating is way higher than what the Indian IT industry has ever witnessed and this trend is likely to continue for the next 6-12 months,” the survey stated.