New Delhi, June 4: Tata Consultancy Services, the country's largest software company, may sack as many as 290 employees at its Finland office, a move that the workers say is an attempt to shift jobs to India.
TCS, which has a registered office in Helsinki and has an employee strength of about 800 in Finland, is currently in negotiations with the employee representatives over the move to cut jobs.
The Union of Professional Engineers in Finland (UIL) claimed that about 412 jobs were at stake, a figure TCS said was inaccurate.
"If I remember... 412, I believe is the correct number," UIL director (collective bargaining) Ismo Kokko told PTI when asked about the number of jobs at stake in TCS.
When contacted, a TCS spokesperson said: "The maximum number of roles affected is 290 and not the numbers you have mentioned, which are completely inaccurate."
Lay-offs may be less than even 290, some sources privy to the TCS management thinking said.
In April this year, over 160 employees at the Finland offices of TCS staged a walkout protesting against job cuts.
These employees were outsourced by Nokia to TCS in March. The employees are based in Espoo, Salo, Tampere and Oulu.
"On April 25, there was a spontaneous walk-out from all TCS offices located in Nokia premises in Finland. People felt angry and betrayed over the fact that it only took TCS seven weeks to show their true colours. Many people felt that Nokia simply outsourced its lay-offs and dirty work to TCS," sources closely following the developments revealed.
Nokia made the announcement related to the outsourcing of employees in January and the total number of Nokia employees to be transferred was 820 of which about 560 were to go to TCS and 230 to HCL, Kokko said.
Separately, Nokia also cut jobs at its IT centre by up to 300 employees.
Kokko said negotiations with employee representatives are currently going on and will conclude soon, which was also confirmed by sources, who did not want to be quoted.
"TCS is going through the official employee negotiation process with the ERs (employee representatives) as required by Finnish law. The minimum negotiation time is six weeks and the meetings are scheduled to end soon. After that, TCS has to inform their final plans, including how many people they plan to lay off," they added.
The lay-off comes amidst TCS announcing plans to hire over 45,000 people globally this year, sources said.
Kokko claimed that the lay-offs are not justified as the work has not reduced.
"We want all the people to keep their jobs. They were outsourced only a couple of months ago and the work that they are doing for Nokia has not reduced at all," he said.
He, however, added: "We are afraid that jobs and work will be moved outside Finland somewhere may be to India or may be to another country. That's our main concern."
On the role of unions in Finland, industry watchers said most Finnish employees belong to some trade union. There are dedicated unions for engineers, business graduates, doctors, teachers, etc. All these unions work together in alliance with government agencies.
On the negotiations, the TCS spokesperson said: "On April 23, 2013, we began consultations with our employee representatives to streamline the operations of TCS Finland in selected areas and harmonise them with our established global model.
"This process will impact up to a maximum of 290 employee positions in TCS Finland. However, it is our intent to find redeployment opportunities for as many of the affected employee positions as would be possible."
The consultation process is with elected ERs of a business unit in TCS Finland. The scope is not restricted only to insourced employees but all employees in Finland within the business unit, the spokesperson added.
"It is not possible for us to provide more commentary until the negotiations are complete with ERs over the coming days," the spokesperson said.
On the question of in the event of negotiations failing, what does the union intend to do, Kokko said: "If there is any illegal activity, we will take up the cause. And then we will see. We will probably claim for compensation. We will also discuss it with Nokia, who are also responsible for this situation.
On the issue of approaching the government, he said presently the issue is being handled at the level of the employer, ERs and union.
"After this is over we will see what we have to do," Kokko added.