The authorities had sought Amazon’s response after Pune-based employee union Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) petitioned union labour minister Bhupender Yadav, claiming that the online retailer had forcibly terminated a large number of employees in India.
representatives appeared before the deputy chief labour commissioner of the union labour ministry in Bengaluru on Wednesday and submitted its version denying the allegations, according to people briefed on the matter.
NITES, however, has pressed for an enquiry, saying the company had set a deadline of November 30 to complete the layoffs in India which, it said, had hurt the livelihoods of many families. No one, however, represented the union at Wednesday’s hearing. The authorities have decided to take a view after hearing it, the people said.
An email sent to the local unit of Seattle-based retailer Amazon seeking comment did not elicit a response till press time Thursday. Labour ministry officials declined to comment, while NITES did not reply to a question sent on WhatsApp.
Labour authorities handle functions including prevention and settlement of industrial disputes through mediation and enforcing labour regulations, among other things.
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Amazon India has maintained that it reviews worker strength across verticals every year to see if it requires any realignment according to the changing environment.
This year too, the company was making some adjustments in light of the emerging global economic situation. An employee separation scheme was part of this process.
Company executives, according to sources, told the labour authorities that workers were at liberty to choose or reject the scheme, and that those accepting it would get a fair severance package.
The company never asked or forced its employees to put in their papers, but advised them to use their own discretion, they told the authorities. The executives also said that the company was offering an extended window to employees in case they chose to reconsider their decision.
In a blogpost in May this year, Amazon India said it had created about 1.16 million direct and indirect jobs in India. The company had also pledged to create 2 million direct and indirect jobs by 2025 which it said was very much on track. In the last one year alone, Amazon said, it had helped create more than 1,35,000 direct and indirect jobs across industries including IT, ecommerce, logistics, manufacturing, content creation and skill development.
Amazon is among the largest multinational employers in India. It has a nine-acre campus in Hyderabad, several offices in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and 60-plus fulfilment centres across 16 states.