Does TCS pay their employees on bench

Mystery behind proposed layoffs at TCS continues, company says employees briefed about situation

Sameera Ahmed | The News Minute | January 2, 2015 | Updated 04.00 PM IST

Following allegations of massive layoffs planned within the company, TCS continues to be in the midst of speculation over its ‘ work force optimization’ and ‘restucturing’ plans.

After rumours of layoffs in Chennai, Bangalore , Lucknow and Kolkata, the regional TCS office Kakkanad in Ernakulam too has prepared a list of 500 employees to be sacked , reported the New Indian Express.

The employees being targeted are ASTs or Assistant Consultants, those having around seven years experience and are mid-level managers in the company.

An Associate Consultant working at TCS in Bangalore who spoke to The News Minute said that on Thursday one of the project leads in his team was put on bench. “ One of my project leads was told to go on bench even while the project was going on. I think that is the strategy, it is not outright termination of service, but first these people are being pulled out of their projects," he said.

Employees in the company say that not all employees are directly given a termination letter. Many of them are sent to bench, during on-going projects or at the end of one.

Following this, ISUs or Independent Strategic Units have been asked to be consulted to sanction new allotments of ASTs to various projects. "Some senior people in the company say that for ASTs to be taken into future projects, a letter explaining why recruiting them for future projects will be better when a junior employee with lesser experience could do the same job has to be given to the ISU."

Another TCS employee said that there was constant fear amongst employees over their future. “ There is complete confusion. A lot of buzz is going on within the company. But with no official word, there is no clarity. Nobody knows what is happening, even senior managers,” he said.

TCS has however refuted this. Pradipta Bagchi, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Tata Consultancy Services in an e mail to The News Minute said, "The Global HR head, Mr Ajoy Mukherjee has communicated directly to all employees in the company on this matter."

An Associate Consultant who was shifted to the bench told The News Minute that it was mostly employees in C-Band who were being asked to either leave the company or exit the project.

"There are five bands during appraisal. C- band means 'meets expectations', and a large number of employees fall under that band. The buzz within employees is that people who have got C Band for more than one year, will be asked to leave. But there is no confirmation," she said under the condition of anonymity.

"Even though an employee with a C-band in one project could be a better performer compared to a B-band employee in another project, those given a C-band are being termed 'non-performers'", the employee added.

TCS has also corrected TNM's earlier version which said, 'No official statement has been given by TCS over the layoffs' and clarified.that this was 'completely untrue'. 

Pradipta Bagchi- "TCS issued the following statement on 10th December to media and has been repeating it since then. 'As a performance driven company, workforce optimization is a continuous process which happens throughout the year taking into account employee performance, business needs, and people aspirations. This leads to some amount of involuntary attrition in the company. This is nothing out of the ordinary or a special situation for us to comment about. We continue to be leading recruiters of IT talent across the world, not only in India. In this fiscal year, we have a total hiring target of 55,000 professionals and we are on track to meet it.'"

In TCS and many other IT companies, contracts demand that the companies must maintain a certain ‘bench strength’. 

According to the Forum for IT Employees (FITE), a forum begun by a Chennai group to tackle the issue, the developments are in tandem with the company’s plan to restructure its current pyramid-style employee organisation by slicing down its mid-level population which has burgeoned over the years.

A group representing the forum has met the Deputy Labour Commissioner in Begaluru seeking action against the company. However, employees are hesitant to give their names for complaints as once given, getting IT jobs in other companies will become difficult as all records are maintained in a database.

According to members of FITE, 15 per cent of the total employees at the company should be available on bench for upcoming projects.

September end statistics revealed that TCS has a total headcount of 313757 employees along with a 20,000 employee addition, according to Business Standard.  

With over 50 percent of TCS's employees falling in this not so favourable 'C-band', many employees remain worried over the company's future plans. 

Read TCS employees meet Deputy Labour Commissioner to seek action against mass sacking

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