"Byju's forced us to resign, treated us as robots," alleges fired employeestext_fields
Bengaluru: A number of former workers at Bengaluru-based Edtech company Byju's have stated that the business used unethical tactics to get rid of them and forced them to resign as it purportedly sought to become profitable. Fired workers claimed they received harsh treatment from the corporation, which included hiring bouncers and forcing them to sign pre-written "resignation letters." However, Byju's has denied the accusations, calling them "unsubstantiated allegations spread by vested interests."
Following a meeting between Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the company's founder and CEO Byju Raveendran, Byju's decided to reverse its decision to fire 140 employees and close its Thiruvananthapuram operations yesterday.
The Edtech giant in a statement said, "Following a detailed discussion between the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri P Vijayan and Byju Raveendran, Founder of BYJU'S, we have decided to continue operations of our TVM (Thiruvananthapuram) product development centre."
While Byju's continues to assert that recent layoffs are intended to prevent redundancies and that the total number they are considering is about 2,500, NDTV has discovered that this assertion is false, NDTV reported.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, some workers asserted that the first round of layoffs, which resulted in 3,000 job losses, took place in June of this year. Since then, they said, the bloodshed has continued.
To work with Byju's, Nilu Debnath and her husband Rajesh (both names altered) relocated to Bengaluru this February. Around Diwali, the couple experienced a shock when both the husband and wife were required to resign within a week of one another.
Mrs Debnath later said: "I never got a chance to ask why they were forcing me to resign. We were treated like robots. Byju Raveendran's letter of apology was sent to current employees, but not the ones fired."
In a letter to the company's 2,500 employees sent on Monday, Mr Raveendran expressed regret for the layoffs and said that the action was necessary to achieve profitability by the end of the 2022–2023 fiscal year.
Recounting her painful experience, Mrs Debnath added that she had been informed that her last day at work was that day and that she needed to begin the exit process. "You have to fill your success factor and fill in your last working day as today," she was told.
She claimed that the entire termination procedure took place on Zoom.
With the fear of termination and no end-of-service perks, if he did not resign on his own, her husband claimed he was given no notice and coerced into signing a resignation letter that had been drafted by Byju's.
Mr Debnath spoke with NDTV about his experience and said: "If you argue, then there is no compensation at all. If you cooperate, you get a month's salary."
He added that Byju's had pre-written the resignation letters and forced the staff to sign them. "We have created content for five years so that they could fire us now," he added.
Byju's has previously stated that it would be cutting off 2,500 staff members in order to prevent redundancy on October 12, 2022. Those who were made to leave claim that the business hired bouncers to handle any difficult situations as employees were suddenly asked to leave.
Byju's employee Stephen Raj (name changed), who was hired three years ago, claimed he felt like a "use-and-throw" object. "I have even worked for 24 hours a day due to excess workload. Yet, I was put on the bench. I was told that it'd be better if I signed the resignation letter. Otherwise, they'll sack me," Mr Raj said.
He continued by saying that up to 5,000 people may have been let go.
However, Byju's has refused to accept these accusations. "BYJU'S denies that the job cuts are more than 2,500. We are a responsible organisation and are treating each employee impacted by the restructuring with the empathy they deserve and need at this time," a statement from the company said today.