back to article Forget about Wipro chairman saying no one would lose their job due to COVID-19: UK staff told they're facing redundancy

Wipro has warned UK staff that some of them may be laid off due to "uncertainties" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – even though the chairman claimed at an AGM that no jobs would be shed during the global crisis. According to documents seen by The Register, the IT services provider, which has offices in London and Reading, …

  1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Is this even legal?

    I mean, it could be construed as misleading the AGM..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this even legal?

      You might be being optimistic to think the shareholders will want to save UK jobs at the expense of their future dividends.

      Plus there's likely to be a standard disclaimer about the accuracy of forward looking statements in there.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no jobs would be shed

    of course not! Those kicked out, will simply be offered a way to expand and diversify their lifelong work skills while seeking new and exciting working environments

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To those affected

    I'm sorry but honestly did you not expect that when the going got a bit tough, an Indian Conglomerate would not make non Indian workers face the chop first?

    I've been through just this very scenario in 2008/09.

    Don't forget to train your replacements who will be earning 25% of your salary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To those affected

      Considering how some UK companies (or the UK portions of multinationals) handled negotiations with their outsourcers regarding working from home, I'm wondering how much of the blame lays on Wipro's side. i.e. outsourcing staff were expected to remain in the office while the rest of the staff worked from home even when they had viable or superior remote working solutions than the other staff.

      As the old saying goes, "the customer is a moron but smile nicely and don't say anything dumb and you can take their money".

    2. PeterM42
      Unhappy

      Re: To those affected

      Yes - most imortant that you UK outsourced staff train your cheapo Indian replacements.

      This is not racist - it's fact!

  4. macjules Silver badge

    Aw, bless

    "Premji also replied to shareholders' queries around justification of compensation to the CEO (highest in Wipro's history)"

    Always a good reason for others to suffer.

  5. Potemkine!

    When a CEO says that "no jobs would be shed", don't believe him and start to search for a new company.

    From previous article: "Net income of $316.5m was a 0.1 per cent improvement on last year's number." and "Execs predicted "stability" for Q2" - Another company not loosing money and even gaining more showing what loyalty towards wage slaves means. If there's a little bit room left in Hell, these execs should be well there.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Every time. I've had to explain this so many times. And people STILL don't believe me.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "showing what loyalty towards wage slaves means."

      Well, a 0.1% increase really doesn't look like a a decent growth. Someone has to cut corners if the next round of bonuses are to be paid for.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      I remember working in a school that was becoming an academy.

      "No jobs would be lost", they said.

      I made my way to the door pretty damn quickly.

      Because the way they announced no jobs being lost was to pay an outside consultancy thousands upon thousands to sit us all in the main hall (200+ staff), give us all a Bluetooth keyboard (which connected to a bank of USB hubs and Bluetooth dongles larger than the laptop that was running them), and we each got a little box on the screen where we could type suggestions ("anonymously").

      I think #1 suggestion was along the lines of "stop with the gimmicks" and " stop wasting our money on this stuff".

      And they were technically true - no jobs were *taken* from people, really. But everyone fled. Which left huge holes. Which meant that those who remained were given more responsibility and accountability, and less people to do it with, and they had to get co-operation from fewer people who were less familiar with the roles given them in order to do it, and then blamed when something wasn't done.

      They then spent most of the time interviewing for unskilled replacements, at rubbish wages, which meant it often got *worse* after hiring a cheap newbie who knew nothing of what they were supposed to do but came under a manager's remit to train them AND do the trainee's job AND their job in the meantime.

      No jobs were lost. Just staff. Left, right and centre. Until the majority were gone (myself included) at which point they inserted their own cronies from elsewhere into those self-same jobs.

      In the end, I think we had something like 30+ "deputy heads" (before that, we had five), which just meant "teacher with all the responsibilities other people had, lumped on top of their teaching", but they never realised that. They were still cooing over the new job title, mostly. In a way, that actually pushed them out of the school because they realised the job there was way over their heads, but they could apply to other schools and claim deputy-headship. I don't think that was deliberate, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

      But "No jobs were lost". If anything, jobs that had never need exist were invented, in effect. And fewer people had more responsibilities than ever while lots of extra new people didn't know what the hell they were supposed to be doing.

      As an IT guy, I spotted the kit being deployed for their staff meetings (without consultation!) and knew the game was up and got out of there. The headmaster was surprised and tried to lure me back with half-my-current-pay-packet. The guy had no clue. He said to my boss that he was surprised I didn't take up his offer, at which point my boss informed him that I wasn't a child and the salary offered was a literal demotion of huge proportions. He never upped his offer, even by a tiny bit. But I suppose you could say that my job wasn't "lost". I was just totally unappreciated and my replacement would be paid a pittance. But the job was still there.

  6. TimMaher Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Never knowingly sold out

    Good luck to those John Lewis “partners” going through the TUPE then.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Hmm

    While many have been laid off because of Covid-19 many have managed to keep their jobs for now. How long some still employed will keep their jobs is a bit problematic. My employers have delayed raises and put a hold on promotions to watch the cash flow. But I have not head any statement that no one will be laid off. Back fills and new hires will be slow of course. While I am not expecting an imminent layoff I have not been promised none will happen either.

    Execs like this idiot are what is wrong with too many companies these days; a complete lack of honesty. Don't tell people no one will be laid off then do it without a very serious issue. Better to say, we will try to avoid them if possible in the future but there is a possibility as the situation unfolds they may be necessary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @a_yank_lurker - Re: Hmm

      You can't be an executive if you're honest. It's a big no-no!

    2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "We've taken a slight hit, could shortly take a major hit. In which case, we'll have the choice of binning some people upfront, or binning 100% of everybody 2 months later when the creditors put their legal hammers down. We're trying to avoid both, but just letting you know."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Most of the comments here are "Western" concepts on an "Eastern" company.

      In this Wipro case, the CEO relationship to the company is special. The largest shareholder of Wipro is the Premji family and the CEO being quoted here is the founder's son. The AGM is practically a family dinner with a couple of well wishers eavesdropping from the courtyard.

      As a family owed megacorp, there is no way anything outside of India, that does not boost the bottom line, matters. The statements, for anyone familiar with how India works, was obviously for Indian employees only. (They will probably do some other stunt like cut wages in half or double hours, so that the Indian employees leave themselves - *if* it really comes to that.)

      Anyway this is true for all family owned megacorp the world over.

      Another factor that is likely at play here is post COVID outsourcing. They expect more outsourcing contracts due to COVID as companies are forced to crush costs (we have examples here of JLP, Vodafone, etc). Wipro probably think their best best to win contracts is on cost. They will let Crapita and ATOS etc deal with those who want a local geo presence, and are keeping Indian geo based employees to offer the cost sensitive offering. This mean non-Indian geos become unneccesary, aka redundant.

      On a slight tangent, articles like this make me realise that many people in the West really have no idea how culturally many ex-colonies operate, to even write an article thinking that non-Indian employees were in consideration.

      The history taught in those nations, particularly on the actions of the British Empire, are not sanitised as they are here in the UK. Indeed people hear have a far better knowledge of what Hitler did, but know nothing of what the British Empire did. The UK (or more accurately Great Britain) is pretty much seen as a criminal on parole in ex-colonies.

      The Brexit talk of all those great *equitable* trade deals with commonwealth and ex-colonies is going to be a very difficult exercise.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        Speaking as one of those colonials, who's lived and worked with a lot of others, I call fie on that "UK = criminals on parole" thing. Some ranters will go on like that, yes. But the vast majority look on the British Empire as fundamentally a bonus for their culture and economy. Introduced the idea of the rule of law, of non corruption, of cracking on with a job, of poor people being allowed to get ahead. You'll note eg in India that yes a heap of English parasites hooked money out of the Moghuls, but they'd themselves parasitically hooked it out of the Indians, the poor, who were savagely held down. At the same time, those poor were suddenly offered opportunities and jobs and trade and allowed to keep their money rather than give it all up to the rulers. So there was a rotation of India's internal wealth ownership, away from the privileged and towards the poor. Do the remnants of that top 1% still bitch today? Yes. Talk to the Rajputs or Brahmins. But the lower castes? Only heard mostly positive things.

        Partition was a complete fkup, of course.

        But hold all the dark muttering conspiracy evil theories close to your heart, and read Mountbatten's autobiography. He was a very blunt man and when he cocked up, he said so. And discover to your surprise that his actions were entirely driven by genuinely trying to get the best results for both sides. He steps thru what he was seeing and being told, and the headoffice imperative and urgency to get the best results for India. Just, as he acknowledges, an incomplete understanding of the sheer depth at the time of the Mughal/Indian, Muslim/Hindu hatred.

        Re Brexit: I don't know what planet you're on mate, but every Commonwealth country I've looked at is banging on Britain's door, waving a trade agreement.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          @W.S.Gosset Sorry you are lying - you cannot be an indigenous citizen of an ex-colony. You must have lived as one of non-subjects of British colonies to have such a view (Note that the non-indigenous people, coming from Britain, had a very different existence and were there to exploit the indigenous people and reap the benefits). The word 'colony' says it, there is a distinction from being part of the UK or even a protectorate.

          3 million people died in the Bengal Famine under the British Empire as late as 1945, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1943

          Yeah the poor were pleased about that sure...

          I'd go on, but this is like replying to child talking about unicorns and fairies. It's so far off reality. FYI - I've studied and lived in multiple countries, including India, none less than five years. Two are ex-Empire countries. And I have lived in the UK itself.

          So I am pretty damn sure you are talking shit. Or you swallowed BS someone was spewing to buy them their drinks.

          >> every Commonwealth country I've looked at is banging on Britain's door, waving a trade agreement.

          Well interesting construct - how many did you look at? One? And to put it bluntly, was that a Commonwealth country that still have their undisplaced indigenous population (Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc are not really the colonies that suffered, the indigineous population remain marginalised to this day)

          References or examples of these desperate deals - please. Remember the UK has already left the EU, it CAN sign trade deals to effect from 1st of January 2021, so what happened.

          I do hope W.S.Gosset you're not all fart and shit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm

            @W.S.Gosset

            https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-trade-agreements-with-non-eu-countries

            All those banging on the door, would mean a signed agreement - 10 countries out of 59, representing just 5% of the total commonwealth GDP.

            That means the UK has no agreement with 95% of the commonwealth GDP.

            Ongoing engagement with just 8 of the remaining 49. That means there isn't even a current engagement with the remaining 41 countries - i.e. 70% of the commonwealth is not even discussing with the UK. This is data straight from UK.gov,

            so @W.S.Gosset 95% of the commonwealth GDP are NOT happy to sign any deals with the UK.

            'banging on Britain's door' my arse - Useless Brexit bullshitter.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I don't know what planet you're on ... every Commonwealth country I've looked at is banging on Britain's door, waving a trade agreement"

          I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >> I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

            If you live outside the UK, laugh, and laugh heartilly, as the world does with Trump.

            But if you live in the UK, cry. And cry hard.

            I then watch a Trump video and I'm laughing again.

        3. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: Hmm

          Same happened in Yorkshire, Lancashire, West Midlands, Cornwall, Strathclyde, Dublin, and around the world.

          The extraction of wealth from the peasants over centuries by Monarchy, Barons, Governments and now mega-corporations.

          I was just disappointed the BBC’s Tom Hardy vehicle Taboo (due back soon I think) was not a warts and all docudrama on the rise and fall of the East India Company. A missed opportunity.

          ‘Other countries monarchies, Baron’s, Government's and shitty mega-corporations Histories are available’.

      2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        Oh, but ++ re your point that Brits/Europeans./whites don't really comptrehend how fundamental the whole my-group-first-and-only thing is outside the west.

        You'll note virtually all the China defenders on this site suffer very strongly from this problem.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm

        "As a family owed megacorp, there is no way anything outside of India, that does not boost the bottom line, matters"

        I dunno, I would think Infosys has some interest in the current chancellor.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    System is mince

    A system that can't protect the elements that make up the system is a system that deserves to wither.

    People before profit is a reasonable stance. No! Wait! We need more bombs and bullets and death machines! To heck with life saving equipment.

  9. PJH1963

    Lies

    Wipro employees in US, Portugal, and a host of other countries with Government protection and support for workers, have already been laid off or furloughed since beginning of May. In 'developing' countries like Brazil, without the same Covid package and Employment protections, they have been sacked.

    Mr. Premji takes his lead from Donald and Boris. He is a liar.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have the scars to prove it

    Wipro do "Just In Time" hiring - Basically they employ people in case they win a contract. If they dont get it, you're out... bad luck. Doesnt matter if you had a stable job before hand or not.

    We also had to endure lectures from an Indian woman telling us how to deal with Indians on a cultural level, amongst other things we were told that their men are to be excused for demanding that a women make them tea etc.

    I'm sure we have a word for that over here... ? It probably doesnt apply to them though

    1. IT's getting kinda boring

      Re: Have the scars to prove it

      Not as 'interesting' as the time my UK female workmates received an email from India HR telling them how to dress and behave in the office.....

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Have the scars to prove it

        I bet that went down well!

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Have the scars to prove it

        Sadly, I'm old enough to remember a woman in my office (back office banking operations, no direct contact with the public or other businesses - as if that makes a difference) was sent home by a manager to chenge her clothes because she turned up in trousers!

        And this was a US Multinational, in Cardiff, South Wales.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel sorry for any Wipro customers

    Judging by what I've experienced working with people from similar outfits, the likelihood is that the two people actually doing productive work on a project will soon be replaced with a team that cannot distinguish arse from elbow.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I feel sorry for any Wipro customers

      ...and never ending round robins of emails discussing the problem but never fixing it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I feel sorry for any Wipro customers

      Too be fair, I‘ve had similar emails from HR in US mega-corps, including acceptable hairstyles!

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: I feel sorry for any Wipro customers

        I worked for HP in distant times, they were very relaxed although I don't know how things have changed 'post Carly'. Smelly and unwashed was not acceptable (rightly) but everything else seemed to to work. Happy times (really).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worked with them before

    Ten years ago when they were doing test and assurance on a big programme I was on. They’d provided a test lead and a team of about a dozen testers. The lead developed a bit of a bad reputation for not doing much while half his team, anecdotally, seemed to spend most of their time on Loot looking for bargains.

    We only found out how good the test lead was and how much work he was doing when he left and m fell apart. Anon because of reasons.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    observing from home

    You can just imagine the outsourcer bosses telling the customer its ok our 1-2 onsite boys will step in and cover everything your 300 sat at home chaps cant cover from the sofa.

    All for no extra cash of course.

    The last 4-5 months must have been hell for some.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Covid silver lining for cloudy companies.

    Wipro and their ilk will probably do really well financially from the virus. Their ongoing contracts with large western companies will not be affected materially unless a company folds but then again they are used to working with failing companies. They will have been able to furlough onshore staff where possible and possibly even have those furloughed people working from home on other global projects. They have probably laid off as many staff as possible in the 3rd world at zero cost. Finally they can use the excuse of Covid to achieve tactical redundancies in western onshore locations where it might have been difficult before.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Covid silver lining for cloudy companies.

      Actually it is much easier to show redundancies for an outsourcing outfit, they didn't need COVID as the reason. I don;t think these are tactical redundancies, they simply don't need the onshore base as they focus more on a cost play.

  15. Ashto5

    Mr Sunak

    Hey did some UK IT people lose Their jobs to our source companies?

    You must be mistaken HMRC tell us that the UK IT sector is booming

    The UK government need to start to take note, HMRC have lied to you and your about to watch the UK service sector wiped out, then the demand for more visas to fill the gap will be required

    Start looking after your UK work force

  16. arctic_haze

    They were lucky, in a way

    The company "last week kicked off a 30-day consultation process with staff, which indicates that between 20 and 99 people are at risk of redundancy". It means the company did not feel panicked. If the consultation process lasted 10 days, the layoffs would be three times bigger. If they wanted to lay off everyone they would not consult anyone.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very difficult...

      At least some of them have probably been TUPEd in from UK firms that have outsourced IT so aren’t there by choice! Plenty of poor people from my company going through that right now....

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well....

    That plans to their long term plan - we got TUPEd in from another company, and loads of us left the WIPRO shit-show as soon as we could. Their long-stated aim was to run more service from India, and only a few months after TUPE, the first batch of layoffs came.

    I was told confidentially that that had been their plan all along, and they'd kept it from the client.

    So now, they can offshore even more work, and blame the covid. Keeping up appearances etc...

  19. fredesmite2
    Flame

    Cock-roaches

    My first encounter with those smelly cock-roaches were in the 80's when scores of them showed up in old clothes and sandals as contractors who were stacked in meetings rooms and closets by the dozens, They would stay for 4 to 6 months and go back to India wearing levis, I love NY t-shirts, and nike tennis shoes.

    It really hasn't gotten any better .

    Wipro was the beginning of contracting pimp-service .

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