Walmart India is in the news again after it had recently let go of 56 of its top executives based in Gurugram. The laid-off executives have now written a letter to the US retailer’s headquarters in Bentonville, terming the layoffs unfair and unrelated to performance.
An ET report quoting three employees who were part of the communication stated, “We have written to them individually as well as a group because the company went ahead with the firing process even after an assurance in December that there will not be any layoffs. Some had even threatened to be whistleblowers in recent real estate deals where due process was not followed.”
The employees said that the US retailer has responded to their mail and a team from US compliance and ethics department could visit India to do a thorough investigation.
Meanwhile, responding to ET, Walmart said the company has built a strong compliance & ethics program in line with its culture of integrity.
A Walmart spokesperson said, “We take all allegations seriously and will review these accordingly. We are committed to growing in India, doing so in compliance with all applicable laws and in a way that benefits our associates, local businesses and the communities where we operate.”
The downsizing came as part of a larger strategy to shut the Mumbai fulfillment center, its largest warehouse, halt new store expansion in India and merge its wholesale back-end operations with ecommerce major Flipkart over the next few months.
In response to the layoffs earlier, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India had stated that Walmart remains committed to growing its B2B Cash & Carry business in India, having opened 6 new Best Price modern wholesale stores, 1 Fulfilment Center and with 22% growth in sales in 2019. He further added that the retailer is looking for ways to operate more efficiently, which requires it to review its corporate structure to ensure that it is organized in the right way. With the laid-off employees approaching the US headquarters for relief, it seems this issue is likely to take more time to resolve.