Labour Ministry Summons Amazon India Over Sacking Of Employees

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The Union labour ministry has summoned Amazon India to appear before the deputy chief labour commissioner in Bengaluru on Wednesday, in connection with the alleged forced terminations by the company, according to news agency IANS.

“You (Amazon) are therefore requested to attend this office with all relevant records in the matter either personally or through an authorised representative on the aforesaid date and time without fail,” according to the ministry’s notice issued on Tuesday.

The move comes after NITES, a Pune-based union working for the rights of employees of IT companies, last week said it had submitted a petition and requested the Union government and the state labour authorities to conduct an inquiry regarding the “unethical and illegal layoffs” email being sent to employees by Amazon.

Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), had said, “NITES strongly condemns the unethical & illegal layoffs started by Amazon in India. The law of the land is above Amazon policies. As per the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act the employer cannot, without prior permission from the appropriate government, lay off any employee. Amazon employees who have served for at least a year of continuous service cannot be laid off unless served a notice three months in advance and prior permission from the appropriate government.”

The e-commerce giant has started laying off employees across the company amid an “unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment” and plans to cut 10,000 or 3 per cent of its workforce.

Its CEO Andy Jassy has also said Amazon will continue to cut jobs into 2023 as it adjusts to business conditions and the decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organizations early in 2023.

He also said, “Leaders across the company are working with their teams and looking at their workforce levels, investments they want to make in the future, and prioritizing what matters most to customers and the long-term health of our businesses… This year’s review is more difficult due to the fact that the economy remains in a challenging spot and we’ve hired rapidly the last several years.”

In a series of IT sector layoffs, before Amazon, Meta and Twitter also laid off employees. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms, on November 9 said the company has decided to reduce the size of its team by about 13 per cent and let more than 11,000 employees go. Twitter has also laid off 50 per cent of its employees.

Now, Google and HP are also planning layoffs. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is reportedly gearing up to lay off about 10,000 “poor performing” employees, or 6 per cent of its workforce. US tech giant HP CEO Enrique Lores has also said the company will cut the size of its workforce in the next three years and expects to reduce it by 4,000 to 6,000 persons. He added that while these are difficult decisions, he is doing what is best for the company’s business.

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