India sees second wave of layoffs and pay cuts as companies grapple with COVID-19 pandemic

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  • The coronavirus pandemic graph continues to rise upwards in India with over 14 lakh cases.
  • And with this optimism of businesses hoping to regain their lost momentum seems to be wearing off.
  • Several businesses continue to stare at an uncertain future, which has brought around the second wave of job cuts.
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From hospitality, fitness to the aviation industry, the jobs scenario looks bleak and the situation seems unlikely to improve anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread far and wide and the numbers are multiplying with over 14 lakh cases in India currently. Given the weak economic scenario and uncertainty all around, several businesses are treading the path of caution and we are witnessing a second wave of job cuts.

Food delivery unicorn Swiggy has laid off over 350 employees after its initial exercise of laying off over 1100 people in May. Swiggy’s official statement said that ‘the past few months have reshaped our lives in an unprecedented manner’. However, the company called the latest layoff as a final realignment exercise.

“In May, we began the exercise of realigning resources to create capacity in higher potential areas with the optimism of the business attaining pre-covid levels in the near-term. With the industry still only having recovered to about 50% of its peak, we have unfortunately had to go ahead with this final realignment exercise with the net loss of 350 jobs. We are concluding the exercise we began late May and there are no plans for any further restructuring,”said a Swiggy spokesperson.

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Food delivery and restaurants have been one of the worst hits ever since the coronavirus lockdown began in March. Social distancing is taking a toll on businesses. People remain wary and unwilling to venture out of their homes still for leisure and entertainment. Hence, many restaurants have continued to stay shut, while many others are in the fear of shutting shop.

Meanwhile, health and fitness startup Curefit too has reportedly recently gone for a second round of layoffs and furloughs. This after initially laying off over 800 people in the beginning of May. Curefit was founded in 2016 by Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal and former Flipkart Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori. The company also has celebrity brand ambassadors like Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff and has over 270 centres across India and Dubai.

Unlock 2.0 in India has seen opening up of certain sectors, however gyms and fitness centers continue to remain shut and the subsequent bouts of strict lockdowns in several parts of the country is not helping their cause.

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Another sector to be severely impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic is the aviation industry. As the situation worsens and with international flights reopening only in a phased manner, the likes of IndiGo, Air India have been on a wait and watch mode. IndiGo yesterday announced a second round of deeper pay cuts, even after it laid off over 2300 people, whereas its government-run competitor Air India has been extending leave without pay and slashing salaries for several of its employees.

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