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Labour Ministry sends notice to Amazon regarding layoffs

Big tech and retail giant Amazon has been sent a notice by the Labour Ministry regarding its mass layoffs and voluntary separation policy.

The assistant labour commissioner’s office, Pune, has summoned the company for an in-person meeting on January 17.

As per the notice, which has been sourced by BT, it read: “Company management is summoned to meet GS Shinde, assistant labour commissioner, on 3PM on January 17, 2023.”

The company has been summoned by the authorities after a complaint raised by the IT employee association Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES). The association stressed that the Voluntary Separation Policy and layoffs by the company are in violation of Industrial Disputes Act.

Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of the employee association NITES, told Business Today, “As per procedures laid down under Industrial Dispute Act the employer cannot, without prior permission from the appropriate government, lay-off an employee featuring on the muster rolls of the establishment.”

“The said application has to be submitted by the employer along with the reasons for such retrenchment. It shall be taken into consideration and scrutinized through an inquiry. However, Amazon has clearly violated the existing provisions of Indian labour laws, which aim at protecting the worker’s right. The voluntary separation policy implemented was never submitted to the Labour Ministry for review which is a violation of existing Labour laws,” he said.

He also highlighted that in certain cases, a three month notice period is mandatory, something which the tech giant is overlooking. “It is pertinent to note that a worker who has served for at least a year of continuous service cannot be retrenched unless served a notice three months in advance and prior permission from the appropriate government.”

A similar notice was sent to Amazon in November from the labour commissioner’s office, Bengaluru.

BT has reached out to Amazon for a comment, and the story will be updated as and when we receive it. BusinessToday

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