Monday, June 6th, 2016

After Flipkart, L&T Infotech adds to India’s IT gloom, recruits’ protest intensify

Nizam Chemmad | June 6, 2016 9:04 pm Print
“This email is to inform you that based on the ranking and the current forecast of batches, you should expect an email from us inviting you for joining tentatively in the month of August/September 2015,” the tech giant said in July, 2015.

Protests are intensifying in Chennai and Bengaluru against L&T Infotech’s move to withdraw its offer of employment to some 1000 fresh  graduates. The students who are mounting protests in the southern tech hubs said the letters were issued by the company in 2014.

“You have been selected to be a part of L&T Infotech. Find attached your offer of intent.”  Its been over an year since Ralesh from Odisha, got this mail from the communication from the India’s sixth largest software exporter. However, till the time of writing this, he has not received the appointment order which was ‘promised,’ long back.

He is still waiting as the company is not sure of what to do with more than 1500 budding engineers, who were cherry picked during recruitment from different universities and institutes across the country.

Throughout this eventful year, these 1500 graduates  got many emails assuring them of an early joining date while seeking their cooperation for the  ‘technical delay’ in the induction process.

“This email is to inform you that based on the ranking and the current forecast of batches, you should expect an email from us inviting you for joining tentatively in the month of August/September 2015,” the tech giant said in July, 2015.

However, after a long wait, in March this year, the students who received their ‘intent letter’ were called for an unusual assessment test “further to the company’s offer of intent.” It also gently reminded them to prepare for the assessment and to focus their preparation on four special areas.

The test was held in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. Students, some of whom came from remote locations said they hardly had a week’s time to prepare for the assessment test.

“Most of the students (more than 80 percent) who gave the test got an email from the company saying that ‘our offer of intent stands cancelled’ as their performance did not meet the selection criteria,” Ralesh told NaradaNews from Bengaluru, where he is coordinating a protest of those who were rejected after the test.

“The company is not ready to give any explanation to what happened. It is very evident that the assessment test which was carried this time was a tactic to reject those who were kept on the bench. They have not held it so far for any batch, not even for those who were selected after us. What we need is justice from the company and a valid answer for keeping us waiting for the whole year,” Ralesh said.

A recruit, from Jharkand who did not want to be named said he was assured that the assessment test was not to eliminate candidates but to prioritise projects.  Another recruit from Maharashtra who also did not want to be named said it was a stressful year for her, as the company kept on shifting the joining dates. This prevented the from trying elsewhere too.

Some candidates who tried their luck in other companies were rejected because of the year long gap, claimed another student.

L&T Infotech which refused to heed to the desperate pleas of the students has now come with a vague explanation citing that what was sent to them was a mere letter of intent and not the firm offer of employment.

A day long hunger strike was held on 30 May in Chennai by students who were ‘disqualified’  in the assessment test wearing a mask. Many techies in the city had flocked to the  protest venue to express their solidarity.

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The placement cell in various institutes and colleges have distanced themselves saying that their job was of a facilitator, claim the students. While some of them empathised, some others wrote it off as a ‘bad luck of the candidates.

Most engineering colleges go to town about the IT majors who come to their campus for recruitment. But they wash their hands off, when the companies back out or delay the induction of the graduates.

But 16 IITs have blacklisted atleast seven start ups from their next placement drive due to begin in December this year. E-commerce major Flipkart narrowly escaped being barred from being included in the black list by the All-IITs Placement Committee (AIPC) last Friday.

Flipkart had asked candidates it recruited from IIMs to join in December, instead of June as agreed earlier. But the online market place’s offer of finding a paid internship in other start ups and a joining bonus prevented it from being axed by AIPC.

Industrial conglomerate Larsen and Toubro had in June 2015 announced that it will list its IT services and solutions providing arm. But in April this year, the company said it was  dropping its plans to issue a Rs 2000 crore Initial Public Offer (IPO). A company official cited market conditions for the withdrawal of the IPO.

Upon being asked whether the company scrapped their appointment due to lack of projects,  Ralesh said that he does not think so. “If it is the case, they would not interview for the 2016 batch and select freshers, without taking a final decision about those who are waiting for a year,” he said.

Sanoop Payyanoor, a member of  the Bengaluru-based non-governmental IT and ITeS Employees Centre (ITEC)  told NaradaNews that the organisation is planning to protest in front of various L&T units across the country demanding justice for the victims.

“Our prime demand is to ensure jobs to all those who were offered and kept waiting. This unkind move from the company has ruined the career of thousands. By staying jobless for one year, other companies will also hesitate to accommodate them citing the one year gap,” Payyanoor said.

He also said ITEC has filed a complaint in the labour court and it will take the protest forward. “We prefer an out of court settlement. Fighting it out in the court will consume a lot more days, and will put these victims life into more trouble,” he said.

L&T Infotech still has several openings listed on its website for seven locations it operates from in India. It also has some openings overseas.

Bulk of the company’s business comes from the US, followed by Europe.

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