Two groupings — the Forum of IT Employees (FITE) and NDLF IT employees wing — are petitioning the Tamil Nadu government against what they call unjustified dismissals of employees at Cognizant.
The FITE has filed a petition at the Tamil Nadu labour department to protect the interests of software engineers who have been sacked on performance grounds, even as companies struggle with changing technology and business shifts.
Cognizant has denied that there have been any layoffs and said employees had been let off because they did not meet performance requirements.
“Cognizant has not conducted any layoffs. Each year, as is the best practice across our industry, we conduct a performance review to ensure we have the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve our business goals. This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company,” said a company spokesperson on email.
“Any actions as a result of this process are performance-based and generally consistent with those we’ve made in previous years. In the March quarter, we hired thousands of professionals — top talent from campuses, as well as from the lateral market,” the company said.
In March, Cognizant trimmed five per cent of its 260,000 workforce as it looked to shift its focus on emerging areas such as digital.
India’s export-focused software firms are facing challenges of automation, and protectionism in their main markets — the US and Europe — and business shifts towards cloud and digital which require skills that are different from traditional services.
NDLF IT Employees Wing, affiliated to the New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF), is planning to expand the union to other states and file grievances with the labour department against the alleged sacking of employees. “We have hundreds of people from the company coming to us. We are in the process of forming a union in each state to strengthen the move,” said Kumar S, working with the Wing.
NDLF IT employees wing has a presence in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It has plans to expand to Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana.