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BYJU's Employees File Dispute Case Against Forced Resignations

The employees are demanding reinstatement with back-wages, continuity of service and consequential benefits.

Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees Union (KITU) has filed an Industrial dispute against the management of BYJU's on the issue of forced resignations. The company offers a learning app for school students to help them crack their exams, including competitive exams for professional courses.

In October 2022, the company laid off employees in large numbers to shore up its ailing balance sheet. KITU leaders say that the sacked employees were forced to sign resignation letters already typed up by HR.

Speaking to Newsclick over the phone, Lenil, a union leader, said, “The employees who signed the resignation letters were promised one month’s basic pay as compensation. However, even this has not been paid yet. Nine sacked employees approached us and wished to file a complaint with the labour commissioner. In one instance, a 31-year-old man who was with BYJU's for three years was sacked by the company when his wife (also a BYJU's employee) was on maternity leave. Both are stressed that the wife may be sacked immediately after returning to work. They have shifted their house to the outskirts of Bengaluru to save money.”

In October, the company issued a statement that it would be laying off 2500 people from its workforce. Shortly after, the company raised 250 million dollar (Rs 2,000 crore approx.) from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Byju's announced layoffs across verticals and locations, including Bengaluru. On March 3, 2023, KITU filed an industrial dispute against the company on behalf of nine laid-off workers.

In a statement, the union said, “For the last several months, the management of BYJU's has adopted the practice of forcing its employees to resign with intimidation and coercion. Thus, hundreds of employees were illegally thrown out of the company.”

The union said they filed the dispute at the office of the Deputy Labour Commissioner, Bengaluru, demanding reinstatement with back-wages, continuity of service and consequential benefits. While the present dispute pertains to nine terminated employees, other terminated employees can join the dispute by adding a rejoinder. The first conciliation meeting between the company and the union was held on March 8. The next meeting is scheduled for April 18.

Per a report in ET Prime, the company reported a loss of Rs 4588 crore for FY 21.

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