A labor union in the Indian state of Karnataka is threatening to bring a lawsuit against Cognizant, accusing the global IT consultant of laying off ‘thousands of employees’ in the country.
Various news reports in Indian media mention that Cognizant is set to fire as many as 18,000 workers.
Cognizant has replied to the allegation, saying layoffs are part of workforce ‘performance management’ and a common feature in the industry across the world. However, it has disputed the number of employees it is accused of firing.
What is certain, however, is that Cognizant has ‘benched’ thousands of its IT workers. (The word bench refers to a group of staff that is not assigned to any project but receives a salary.) In the IT industry, such workers are typically forced to resign a month later.
The workers’ association, Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees Union, looks unwilling to buy the argument. In a statement, the labor union claimed it had already initiated what it calls a “legal battle” against Cognizant.
Under the country’s labor laws, companies with more than 100 employees need to consult the Labor Department before launching major layoffs.
Cognizant has nearly 300,000 employees worldwide, with the majority of them working out of India. In the southern city of Chennai alone, the IT company runs more than a dozen delivery centers.
In a recent call with investors, the company’s CEO Brian Humphries said Cognizant would hire 20,000 freshly-graduated engineers in India by the end of this year.