Govt to probe spate of resignations at Amazon
The labour ministry will set up an inquiry to find out whether the recent spate of resignations at Amazon India constituted layoffs that violate labour laws or terms of service.
The labour ministry will set up an inquiry to find out whether the recent spate of resignations at Amazon India constituted layoffs that violate labour laws or terms of service, according to people aware of the development.
The ministry had sent a notice to Amazon India last week after receiving a complaint of mass layoffs in violation of laws made to labour minister Bhupender Yadav by the Nascent Information Technology Employees’ Senate (NITES), a collective of IT professionals that has over 18,000 members.
In its reply, Amazon India management had said no employee had been fired and some staff had resigned after accepting the e-commerce firm’s “voluntary separation programme”.
The company in its internal communication to employeeshad stated that those who do not opt for the voluntary separation programme will be retrenched without any benefits under a “workforce optimisation programme”, according to Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of NITES, which has alleged violation of labour laws.
Amazon has planned to lay off approximately 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs globally, starting last week, in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history, according to reports. The resignations at Amazon India are being seen as a part of the e-commerce giant’s global retrenchments.
Amazon India has said it planned to shutdown its food delivery service in Bengaluru by the end of 2022, and also wind up its ed-tech ventures in the country. On Thursday, the company said it would shutter Amazon Academy, an online learning platform in India for high school students.
HT has reached out to Amazon India for comments, but has not received a response.
“In its response (to the labour ministry), the company said that they had expected to make more money through their business, but owing to financial expedience, they floated a voluntary exit programme. They said there were no forced layoffs. However, we will be examining whether the exits were voluntary and if the terms of services, which includes severance and notice period, were adhered to,” a ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
The ministry will also reach out to the employees who opted for the voluntary exit scheme to verify the claims made by the company.
On whether the government could intervene in the working of a private entity, the official said the ministry has the mandate to ensure that labour laws were not violated. “We will ensure that the aggrieved workers are heard, and their rights are protected. Otherwise, we will act as per the law,” the official said.