Raymond cuts workforce to tide over COVID-19 woes

Raymond cuts workforce to tide over COVID-19 woes
Mumbai, Jun 22 () Amid an organisational restructuring to tide over the COVID-19 woes, apparel maker Raymond has seen about 1,100 employees either resigning or being sacked since April as part of cost-control measures, retrenched employees claimed, but the firm refuted their assertions on non-payment of full dues.

About a dozen employees spoke to said the Raymond management sought resignations from them, failing which they were threatened with termination. While some 400 were coerced into resignation, around 700 who did not do so were sacked. Similar notices have been served to 400 more now, they claimed.


The Gautam Singhania-led company had 7,087 employees on its rolls as of March 2019, according to the annual report.

A company spokesperson, however, refuted the numbers saying queries on the issue "are factually incorrect, malicious and misrepresented with vested interests."

"We would further like to state that in line with the prevailing market conditions and unprecedented challenges, the company has undertaken the process of cost rationalisation to minimise the impact on business due to the pandemic.

"Basis this rationalisation exercise certain roles were identified to be redundant and the same was communicated to the employees concerned, post which they submitted their resignations," the company spokesperson said.


The staff alleged that their salaries were cut by up to 65 per cent since April and before the resignations were sought, and only the basic pay was being paid to those serving notice period.

On this, the company spokesperson said, "as per the employment contract, they have been put on the notice period of three months and are being paid in compliance with the terms and conditions. All the said measures and actions are taken as per the laid down procedures and are in the overall interests of all stakeholders."

Raymond on June 10 informed exchanges that all its retail stores remained shut during the first and second phase of the coronavirus lockdown with gradual reopening thereafter, while its suiting and shirting fabric manufacturing plants remain shut due to subdued demand.

The firm was looking at debt raising and alternate working capital to manage liquidity. "In line with the prevailing market conditions and unprecedented challenges, we have undertaken a process of cost rationalisation and various cost control measures related to sales and marketing, manpower, rentals and others to minimise the impact on business due to the pandemic," it had informed the bourses.

spoke to a dozen of the employees but all of them requested not to be named fearing reprisal, as they are serving the three-month notice period after termination by the over 90-year-old group that has two verticals--Raymond Apparel which sells brands like Park Avenue, Parx, Colour Plus; and garmenting and shirting business under Raymond Suitings.


The staff allege that their salaries were slashed by up to 65 per cent in April before the resignations were sought from them through WhatsApp calls/messages in early May. During the notice period, they are being given just about their basic pay after deducting income tax on the full salary, resulting in only 25-27 per cent payment.

The HR department sent termination messages to only those who didn't tender resignations voluntarily, they said, alleging the huge salary cut that preceded was not conveyed to them personally in writing but was posted on the company website.

In mid-April, Singhania in a video message exhorted the staff "to survive at any cost by conserving cash at any cost and to make sure to focus on our collections," and said he'd not draw a penny in salary during the lockdown.

According to the employees, Raymond announced huge salary cuts ranging from 20 per cent (who are still employed), 50 per cent to those who are benched now and a hefty 65 per cent to those who have been terminated now. Employees fear more jobs will be lost from the 50 per cent bracket.

"What is more, though the official reduction is 65 per cent, we are only getting 25-28 per cent as they are deducting tax on the full salary and what is paid is not even the full basic pay," six of them told requesting not to name them.


These employees have spent between 18 months and 12 years with the group in high positions as heads of marketing, logistics, supply-chains. Barring three, all of them have liabilities like home loans, school fees and rentals to pay, among others.

"Late April, I was told my division would be recast as some positions have become redundant but was assured of my position. But within 10 days I received a WhatsApp call saying my position too has become redundant and that I have to resign in the larger interest of the organisation, which I refused. Within hours, I was terminated," a person who headed marketing at one of the divisions said.

Another person said over 20 jobs were lost from his division, and more are on the way out.

"They did not spare even a few who have a couple of months to retire," said the person cited above who was in the supply chain division for the past decade.

"The pay-cut announcement was made in May but effective April! he said, adding, "a legal notice is being prepared seeking either re-employment or full salaries."


"We aren't opposed to retrenchment. Our only demand is to pay us full salaries during notice period," said another person from the supply chain side and is the only earner in his family with a home loan and two school-going kids.

Accusing the management of frequently changing HR policy, another employee said most culling is driven by favouritism. There is no union as the majority of those sacked are in the management cadre, he alleged.

"We were even ready for the 65 per cent salary cuts as we have given everything to this company in all these years. Over 1,100 of us were sacked by a company that had won the best-place-to-work-with award just two years ago," said a person from Raymond Suitings who was heading a department.

He also said Clause 17 of their appointment letter specifies those serving the three-month notice will be given full salary. BEN AA ANZ ANU ANU

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