Business strategy

IT Employees’ Union Condemns Amazon Layoffs as ‘Unethical and Illegal’, ‘Law Above Amazon Policies’

Days after Amazon decided to lay off employees across the company, a Pune-based union working for the rights of employees of IT companies said it strongly condemns the unethical and illegal layoffs started by Amazon in India, and the law of the land is above Amazon policies.

The company has laid off some employees in its devices and services unit, according to a letter by hardware chief Dave Limp to employees. News agency Reuters reported that plans, still in flux, to eliminate around 10,000 roles through reductions in more units would amount to about a 3 per cent cut in Amazon’s roughly 300,000-person corporate workforce. Many Indians have also been affected by the layoffs.

Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), 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.”

Saluja added that the company needs to submit an application to the authorities along with the reasons for such layoffs and then the appropriate government authorities will decide whether the layoff can be permitted or not after hearing both parties.

“We have submitted a petition and requested the Union government and the state labour authorities to conduct an inquiry regarding the unethical & illegal layoffs email being sent to employees by Amazon,” the NITES’ president said.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a statement 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 prioritising 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… Our annual planning process extends into the new year, which means there will be more role reductions as leaders continue to make adjustments… Those decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organisations early in 2023,” Jassy said.

Amazon had rounds of job cuts in 2018 and in 2001 also during the dot-com crash.

The move by Amazon came days after 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.

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