Layoffs: Amazon India Says No Employees Were Sacked, Resignations Were Voluntary

Amazon India, which was summoned by the labour ministry to appear before the deputy chief labour commissioner in Bengaluru on Wednesday over the layoffs, said it has not sacked any employee but only let go of those accepted the voluntary separation programme (VSP), according to an ET Now report.

It comes after NITES, a Pune-based union working for the rights of employees of IT companies, last week 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. The IT union claimed that Amazon forcibly terminated a large number of employees in India.

According to the ET Now report, after Amazon’s decision to lay off employees, its Indian arm started urging its employees to quit voluntarily by sending out a voluntary separation programme. As per the VSP document shared by the e-commerce major, “This communication is to inform you that Amazon is implementing a Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) which is temporarily available to eligible employees within Amazon’s AET organization. Pursuant to the VSP eligible employees will have the opportunity to resign voluntarily from employment in exchange for the VSP benefits described below.”

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.

According to an Economic Times report, Amazon representatives who appeared on Wednesday before the deputy chief labour commissioner of the union labour ministry in Bengaluru presented their side of the story while also dismissing any allegations.

It, however, said no one represented the IT union at Wednesday’s hearing. The authorities will take a view after hearing it, the report added.

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.

Google and HP are also now 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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