TCS Accused Of ‘Unethical Transfer Practices’ After End Of WFH

NITES has written a letter to the Union Labour Ministry against TCS's transfer policy.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The TCS House in Mumbai. (Photo: Company)</p></div>
The TCS House in Mumbai. (Photo: Company)

An IT employees union has accused Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. of “unethical transfer practices” for employees, just weeks after India’s biggest private employer made office compulsory for all its staff.

The issue has been brought to the attention of the government as well.

The Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate, in a letter to the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that TCS has been engaging in a “systematic pattern” of forcing employees to transfer their work locations from one city to another, often without prior consultation.

“This is causing immense hardship to employees and their families who are being uprooted from their homes and communities at the whims of the company,” NITES said in the letter addressed to Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav.

BQ Prime has seen a copy of the letter.

TCS has been sending emails to its employees, informing them about their transfer to Mumbai and other locations, NITES went on to say in the letter. These emails state that the transfer is necessary due to “business requirements,” but no specific details are provided. Employees have been given a two-week deadline to report to their new location, and they are required to book their own travel tickets and make accommodation arrangements, which will be reimbursed by the company as per policy.

“We believe that TCS’s actions are unethical and in violation of labour laws,” NITES President Harpreet Singh Saluja told BQ Prime. “The company has not provided any valid reason for the transfers, and it has not given employees a fair opportunity to object or provide alternate solutions.”

An email sent to TCS seeking comment on the matter remained unanswered at the time of publishing this story.

To be sure, TCS is yet to get any complaints from the Labour Ministry, according to a person aware of the development who spoke with BQ Prime on the condition of anonymity. Such transfer notices are routine and common practice, especially in the case of new joinees—they may be trained in one location and assigned a project in another, the person said.

This is also done on the basis of TCS's needs, project requirements, and for some candidates seeking transfer, the person quoted above said.

Transfer Playbook

“This is to inform you that you are transferred from TCS Hyderabad—India office to Mumbai office, effective Nov. 10, 2023. This is a company initiated transfer."

That was the first line of an email that an associate received from Career Nextstep, with the header “TCS Confidential”. BQ Prime has seen a copy of the email.

“You are required to report to your transferred location within two weeks (14 days) from receipt of this letter and complete your transfer formalities,” the email went on to say. "You need to book your own travel and make the necessary accommodation arrangements, which would be later reimbursed by the company, as per applicable policy. You are required to report to the RMG at your new location.”

BQ Prime has seen another transfer email, which was on similar lines.

Wipro Asks Staff To Work From Office Thrice A Week In Shift From Covid-Era WFH

HR Troubles

India’s IT bellwether has been marred with one human resources crisis after another since the beginning of this year—the abrupt exit of its chief executive officer notwithstanding.

In June this year, TCS was rocked by a so-called bribes-for-jobs scam—brought to light by a whistleblower complaint. A months-long investigation eventually resulted in the firing of 16 employees and blacklisting of six vendors in October.

That, however, didn’t mean there was a fraud at the company, TCS said in an Oct. 15 filing. “The issue relates to breach of the company’s code of conduct by certain employees and vendors supplying contractors,” TCS said. “And no key managerial personnel has been found to be involved.”

Then, exactly a month ago, India’s biggest private employer scrapped the pandemic practice of work from home and made office mandatory for all employees.

“We strongly believe they need to come to work so that the new workforce gets integrated with the larger workforce of TCS,” Chief Human Resources Officer Milind Lakkad told reporters during the company’s second-quarter earnings presentation. “That’s the only way they will learn and understand and internalise the TCS values and the TCS way…”