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Business News/ Companies / News/  Future Group's women workers appeal to PM Modi
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Future Group's women workers appeal to PM Modi

US e-commerce giant Amazon has challenged the Future-RIL deal. Amazon indirectly owns about 3.5% in Future Retail, having bought 49% of Future Coupons for Rs1,500 crore in August 2019

In August, Future Group announced the sale of its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance Retail Ltd, a unit of RIL, in a Rs24,713 crore deal.Premium
In August, Future Group announced the sale of its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance Retail Ltd, a unit of RIL, in a Rs24,713 crore deal.

NEW DELHI: In a written appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a group of 2,677 women employees of retailer Future Group have sought redressal of the impending Future Group-Reliance deal that they said could threaten thousands of jobs if the legal spat between Amazon and Future Group continues.

In a letter dated 8 March, ‘Women of Big Bazaar SOS (save our Sustenance)’, a group of women employees who work for retailer Future Group appealed to the prime minister to save jobs of 10,000 direct employees as well as indirect associates of the retailer that runs stores such as Big Bazaar, Central, Brand Factory, Easy Day, Heritage City among several others.

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An additional 2 lakh women indirectly earning their livelihoods through working or supplying products to Big Bazaar and associated retail chains of Future Group, they said in their letter.

“As you may be aware, our company, Future Retail and Reliance had entered into an arrangement through which Future’s retail stores will continue to be operated by Reliance. Reliance has also committed to clear all debts and dues owed by Future Retail to suppliers and vendors. Since we had been facing tough times during the pandemic, this arrangement provided us with a lot of hope and confidence for our continued livelihoods. However, Amazon, the global American giant, has tried to stop this tie-up through frequent court cases and consequently our future and that of our families hangs precariously," the letter said.

Debt woes made worse by the covid-19 induced lockdowns forced Future Group to sell its retail assets to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd last year. On 29 August, Future Group announced the sale of its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance Retail Ltd, a unit of RIL, in a Rs24,713 crore deal.

However, American retailer Amazon has challenged this, saying that a 2019 deal between the two prevents Future Group from selling shares of Future Retail to rivals in the retail space. Amazon indirectly owns about 3.5% in Future Retail, having bought 49% of Future Coupons for Rs1,500 crore in August 2019.

A Singapore arbitration tribunal had blocked the sale in an interim order on 25 October, in a victory for Amazon and what could possibly threaten the RIL-Future Group deal, Mint reported earlier.

The case is now pending before the Delhi high court and the Supreme Court, while the deal awaits clearance from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

The group’s members are convinced that if Amazon's interference in the Future Group-Reliance deal is permitted to proceed, small-town retail women employees will be hit.

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Published: 08 Mar 2021, 01:32 PM IST
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