Following meetings with the representatives of the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) and Cognizant, the Chennai labour commissioner has directed the affected employees to officially raise an industrial dispute under Section 2A of the Industrial Disputes Act, according to a Financial Express report.
The dispute will have to be raised individually before the conciliation officer, so as to resolve the employees’ persistent concerns.
While the point of layoffs can be raised under Section 2A as it pertains to the termination of employees, the labour department has also ordered the trade unions to file other performance appraisal-related issues under Section 2(k) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The decision was communicated to FITE and NDLF-IT (New Democratic Labour Front), the two unions fighting for the cause of the aggrieved IT professionals, after an inquiry was conducted with Cognizant’s management on the alleged mass layoffs
Earlier, there were reports that suggested that the layoff case had been closed, in favour of the sacked employees. “We have closed the case in favour of affected employees and suggested the company management to continue everybody and hold one—on—one discussion to resolve the issue,” Telangana Joint Labour Commissioner Chandra Shekaram was quoted as saying in a Hindu Business Line report. “We have also advised the management to give all eight employees one more opportunity to prove their mettle,” he added.
This had happened after both FITE and NDLF had separately approached the labour commissioner, on the matter. There were three meetings in total, and in the the last meeting that was held on May 17, the layoff issue was deliberated upon, as a follow-up to the petitions filed by the IT employees. Eight individuals had petitioned the labour department, with complaints against Cognizant, for forcing them to resign after a performance-based HR review.
Cognizant, on their part, have claimed that they have not undertaken any such coerced layoffs. "There have been no layoffs and these are only performance management measures. All of us are hiring. Cognizant hired thousands of people just in the March 2017 quarter", Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Senior Vice-President of Corporate Marketing at Cognizant was quoted as saying in a report.