'TCS forcing staff to transfer to different locations'

The Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES), an IT sector employee rights organisation, has filed a complaint with the labour ministry against Tata Consultancy Services alleging that the IT major is forcefully transferring over 2,000 employees.

NITES alleged that TCS has initiated transfers of employees to different base locations without consulting the employees. The affected employees are required to relocate to the new location within 14 days or stand to have their salaries deducted. ET has reviewed a copy of the letter.

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“We believe that TCS’s actions are unethical and in violation of labor laws. The company has not provided a valid reason for the transfers, and it has not given employees a fair opportunity to provide alternative solutions,” said the complaint, seen by ET.

This comes at a time when the IT services sector, led by TCS, is urging employees to return to offices on all days of the week. TCS response on the allegations are awaited.

TCS has been sending emails to employees, informing them about their transfer to Mumbai among other locations, NITES wrote in a complaint to the ministry. The emails state the transfers are necessary due to business requirements. However, no specific details are provided. Employees are required to report to the new location within two weeks, and will be reimbursed later, according to the emails seen by ET.

NITES also stated that these requirements have put employees under financial and emotional stress. It has urged the ministry to investigate TCS’ transfer practices to determine if they are in violation of labour laws, and take requisite actions.

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A senior executive, who did not wish to be quoted, said this was a “routine” activity. “Such transfers are initiated based on present and future requirements in different locations and largely involve junior employees,” said the person. TCS has over 600,000 employees.

Many of these employees had moved back to their home towns when organisations had allowed work from home during the pandemic. Several companies are having a tough time getting these employees to return to the base locations and to the offices now. ET has reported earlier that after TCS, other large firms including Infosys and Wipro have also mandated work from office for its employees, few days in a week.

“Normally company-initiated transfers are an outcome of a specific business requirement from clients. However, we have received complaints from employees stating that they have been transferred without any client project at hand,” Harpreet Saluja, president, NITES, told ET.

Saluja said that a bulk of the employees were already working from offices in their base locations. Most of the affected employees are in the 1-2 year experience category with a large section coming from Hyderabad base location.

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