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Satyam withholds salaries for two months; layoffs feared

Satyam withholds salaries for two months; layoffs feared
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First Published: Fri, Jan 09 2009. 06 03 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Jan 09 2009. 06 03 PM IST
Hyderabad / New Delhi: Satyam Computer on Friday announced holding back employees salaries for two months, even as rumours were rife that the company might lay off close to 15,000 workers in the coming days.
The offices of Satyam Computer were rife on Friday with the talks about forthcoming pink-slips at the company, which needs over Rs500 crore every month just to meet its staff costs and has admitted that its cash position was not encouraging.
Employees said they have received an e-mail saying the company would hold back salaries for two months and asked staffers to bear with it.
However, the company spokesperson declined knowledge of any such e-mail and the issue would be looked into.
Even as the company spokesperson denied any layoff plans as of now, the rumours put the estimated job cuts at close to 15,000 by the end of this month.
Employees at the company said on condition of anonymity that they were hearing about imminent lay-off of people who were sitting on the bench or were close to completing their assigned projects. Besides, those being retained would be asked to take substantial salary cuts, they added.
At the same time, global HT consultancy firm Hay Group’s Practice Leader Mark Thompson said that employees would suffer the most from the fraud.
Global HR consultancy firm HayGroup’s Practice Leader Mark Thompson said: “Based on past experience ... as with Enron, Worldcom and the Mirror Group, it is likely to be the employees who will suffer most from the fraud perpetrated by their bosses.”
In early 2000, the collapse of energy trader Enron had left thousands of people out of work, another 8,500 had lost their jobs at accounting firm Arthur Andersen; and Tyco eliminated 15,000 employees in February.
Analysts at technology research firm Forrester said employees and clients would soon desert the company amid competitive wooing by the rivals.
The research firm added that it has already been consulted by over half-a-dozen rivals of Satyam on competitive strategies to be adopted to take over the business from the clients of the beleaguered IT firm.
Satyam on Wednesday made a shocking disclosure of fudging of accounts by its founder Ramalinga Raju, who then quit as chairman, leaving an uncertain future for the company and its 53,000 employees.
Raju, in a statement on Wednesday, said Satyam’s profits had been massively inflated over many years but no other board member was aware of the financial irregularities.
The timing of this news is the most unfortunate part about it given the fragile state of the global economy, Hay Group’s Thompson said.
The scandal will damage corporate India’s reputation, may have implications for the whole BPO and IT Services sector and would certainly give some “hotheads in the US a little more ammunition to use against the logic of outsourcing to India,” Thompson said.
“However, there will not be a long term impact on the employer-employee relationship.
Instead, we may get tied up with a series of reviews into corporate governance and a host of new regulations attempting to prevent this kind of thing from happening again,” Thompson added.
Another global staffing services firm Manpower said at this point of time “employees should assess their current skill sets and explore the opportunities in sectors showing positive hiring intent like energy, telecom and mining.”
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First Published: Fri, Jan 09 2009. 06 03 PM IST
More Topics: Satyam | Salary | Employees | Fraud | Home |