After Thiruvananthapuram, Byju’s Bengaluru employees say that the management has asked them to either voluntarily resign or face termination.
According to two sources close to the development, who spoke to BusinessLine on the condition of anonymity, Byju’s management has held such one-on-one conversations in the past 7-10 days with the hundreds of employees across multiple functions like sales operations (quality and analysis), media, recruitment and customer retention, among others.
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“In the quality and analysis team, almost 300 people out of the 475-member team were asked to resign. This exercise was started last week and even the best-performing employees were asked to resign,” said one of the above-quoted sources. Another person said that similar cuts have happened in the recruitment team as well, wherein 300 employees out of the 400-member team were asked to resign.
“I was suddenly called for a one-on-one conversation with the senior executives yesterday and told that I should put in my resignation citing medical issues or they will terminate me. They did not even give us any reason for this. We have been told that November 19, 2022, will be our last date of employment with Byju’s. They expect us to find a new job in a month’s time,” he added.
Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employee Union (KITU) also told us that the union has received almost 10-12 complaints from Byju’s Bengaluru employees about forced resignations. KITU has stated that “massive retrenchments are happening in Byju’s in which hundreds of employees made to forcefully resign from the company. KITU strongly condemns this illegal action by the management of Byju’s”
The employee union has also warned Byju’s that as per the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 section 2(a), unfair labour practices (“to indulge in acts of force or violence”), is an offence on the part of an employer to force an employee to resign. An employee has all the legal right to refuse to sign the resignation. KITU has urged Byju’s management to respect the law of the land and reinstate all retrenched employees with immediate effect.
Responding to BusinessLine queries, a Byju’s spokesperson said, “It is absolutely false that Byju’s is forcing employees in Bengaluru office to resign. Byju’s is a responsible organisation and follows all laws of the land. Byju’s employs nearly 50,000 people across India. Around five per cent, or 2,500, of these positions, are being rationalised as part of BYJU’S current strategic plan to grow profitably and sustainably.”
The spokesperson added that each of the employees affected by the restructuring is being informed individually with the empathy they deserve and need at this time. He also noted that Byju’s is providing all of them (impacted employees) a “progressive exit package, including extended family health insurance benefits, outplacement services, fast-track full-and-final settlement on demand and the provision of ‘garden leave’ where they can look for jobs while on Byju’s payroll.”
The company also said that all employees will be offered an assured path to return to Byju’s if they cannot find a job in the next 12 months in new roles that are more relevant and productive for both the company and the employees. However, an impacted employee denied being offered such an option.
Last week, Byju’s Thiruvananthapuram employees also approached the state’s labour minister, saying that the company had forced them to resign. Post which, a Byju’s spokesperson said, “while we are discontinuing our Thiruvananthapuram operations to reduce redundancy, we are also offering the entire team an opportunity to relocate to Bengaluru.” This move impacted almost 150 employees.
In October, Byju’s announced plans to lay off 2,500 employees to achieve group-level profitability by March 2023. In June, too, Byju’s had laid off around 500 people across Whitehat Jr. and Toppr to recalibrate its business priorities and accelerate its long-term growth.
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Earlier this week, Byju’s took ₹300 crore from its subsidiary Aakash Educational Services, which it acquired for around $1 billion last year. The edtech decacorn has also recently announced new fundraising of $250 million from its existing investors, including Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). This was a flat round for the edtech company raised at its earlier valuation of $22 billion.
Byju’s has reported a 20X jump in its losses in FY21. The company’s gross revenue came in at ₹2,428 crore and its losses ballooned to ₹4,588 crore, as compared to ₹231-crore loss it reported in FY20. The jump in losses was attributed to certain changes in the company’s revenue recognition. For FY22, the company has said its gross unaudited revenue is close to ₹10,000 crore and is now projecting to do ₹15,000 crore revenue in FY23 along with better margins. I