As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the country and the nationwide lockdown has resulted in significant dip in revenues of many leading companies, these firms have started to let go of employees and a serious problem of unemployment has risen in the country.
While Cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday became the latest company to lay off employees, as the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus has significantly reduced its revenues, PTI reported. Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said the layoffs were a result of a significant dip in the company’s revenues because of the prolonged shutdown.
A number of other companies, including, food delivery services Swiggy and Zomato, and some media firms have fired employees over the past two months, despite a government appeal not to do so.
On Wednesday, news filtered in that Hindustan Times had let go of around 130 plus employees in a sudden spurt. Insiders suggest that firings have been across the board including sales, marketing and editorial. The insiders also mentioned that the Patna and Pune editions were closing down.
Media organisations such as The Times of India, News Nation and The Quint have also laid off employees despite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking public and private employers not to lay off their workers or cut their salaries. Sources have also said that ET Panache and Bombay Times are all set to merge and that ET Panache has asked its 50% staff to go on leave.
Arvind Krishna-led tech giant IBM has also joined a host of companies who have started firing employees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The tech industry has also suffered widespread job losses after the pandemic triggered a severe recession.
On April 13, news website The Quint had sent 45 employees on indefinite leave without pay, Newslaundry reported. The affected employees were to be paid half their salaries for the month of April. The unpaid leave started from April 15.
The Supreme Court had on April 27 expressed concern at the layoffs and salary cuts by some media organisations. The court issued a notice to the Centre on a petition filed by the National Alliance of Journalists, the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, opposing the layoffs and pay cuts.
India’s unemployment rate was a tad higher at 24.3% for the week ended May 24 compared to 24% in the preceding week or the average unemployment rate of 24.2% in the past eight weeks of the lockdown. The unemployment rate stood at 8.8% in March.
However, the labour participation rate fell marginally to 38.7% in the week ended May 24 as against 38.8% recorded in the preceding week after increasing for three consecutive weeks, says the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in its weekly report.
(Photo credit: Live Mint)