We will challenge it in the labour court, say employees

Tata Communications Ltd (TCL) has terminated the services of 187 employees who came into its fold when the public sector VSNL was taken over by the Tatas.

According to the All-India VSNL/TCL Employees’ Association, these employees have been served notices, terminating their services with effect from December 8.

Tata Communications did not reveal the number of employees being terminated. It, however, admitted that this was part of organisational changes. “Tata Communications is focussed on its long-term growth, operational performance, efficiency and market competitiveness, and regularly assesses its ongoing business needs and priorities. Tata Communications has made some organisational changes in order to better align the company to its current and future business requirements; these changes have involved some roles in India and overseas becoming redundant,” said a spokesperson of Tata Communications.

A termination of employment letter issued to an employee by TCL read like this: “We hereby regret to inform you that your employment with Tata Communications is terminated with immediate effect. Accordingly, you need not report to work commencing from tomorrow. A demand draft …is already sent by speed post.”

Apart from three months salary towards notice period and other benefits, the company is making a severance payment equal to two weeks’ salary for every completed year of service, subject to maximum of 9 months salary. “The company is offering you the option of treating your termination as resignation by you if you accept the remaining terms of this letter,” it says. The affected employees have alleged that old workmen from the erstwhile VSNL era have been deliberately chosen, as they have been questioning the “unjust business practices of the company.” “It is clear that the company is victimising old employees, and terminating us illegally. They are not following the labour law while removing people. When the hiring process is on, how can they call us surplus and ask us to go without any notice and citing any reason,” said U.S. Tiga, General-Secretary, All-India VSNL/TCL Employees Association.

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