The Union Labour Ministry issued a notice to Amazon India on Tuesday regarding the voluntary separation programme (VSP) it implemented last week to reduce headcount as part of the ecommerce giant’s massive layoff plan.
The ministry summoned the online retailer in response to a complaint from the Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), which claimed in a letter dated November 19 that firings at Amazon India are unethical and illegal, and requested intervention.
NITES president Harpreet Singh Saluja said, “Recently we have received complaints from employees of Amazon that they are being forced to quit the company voluntarily, the company has sent a detailed Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) as well.” He further added that the livelihood of 1000s has now been made vulnerable.
Amazon has approximately 100,000 employees in the country.
Explaining how the layoffs were unethical and illegal, the employer cannot lay off an employee appearing on the establishment’s muster rolls without prior permission from the appropriate government, according to procedures outlined in the Industrial Dispute Act.
Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner A Anjanappa has directed Smitha Sharma, senior manager public policy at Amazon, to hold a discussion on the VRS scheme mentioned by NITES on November 23.
Internal documents obtained by the media last week revealed that Amazon India is making “voluntary severance” offers to some of its employees in various divisions, including human resources and employee services.
The latest layoffs at Amazon’s Indian offices are part of the ecommerce giant’s broader plan to reduce its global headcount by 10,000, with job cuts expected across several industries.
Amazon is considering layoffs in its devices division, which manufactures ‘Alexa’ devices as well as home security cameras. Employees in the human resources and retail divisions are also being let go.
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