Indian IT services company HCL Technologies has denied reports that over 1,000 workers at its business process outsourcing operations in Northern Ireland could lose their jobs unless they accept new working conditions.
Last week, the BBC and others reported that 1,200 workers at HCL’s Northern Irish call centres had been told they could lose their jobs unless they accepted a pay freeze and changes to their holiday entitlement.
However, a spokesperson for HCL told Information Age this morning that the reports were misrepresentative, and that "nobody will lose their job".
"In order to remain competitive, we have to benchmark our costs with other companies in the market," the company said in a statement this week. "As part of this process, we have reviewed our current terms and conditions."
"The proposed changes are aimed at harmonizing terms and conditions across our employee base and will result in a single system of reward and recognition which will be fairer and reward high performance."
The company has begun an 90-day consultation with staff, and created a forum for employees to discuss the changes. "We are in the process of running a series of staff road-shows and will offer individual one-to-one sessions to all employees to gain their views and comments as part of the consultation process.”
HCL also denies reports that two of its largest customers are demanding cheaper rates.
The reports are potentially damaging for a company that markets itself on the basis of its treatment of employees. CEO Vineet Nayar has authored a book, entitled "Employees First, Customers Second", in which he argues that "it is important to empower employees so that they deliver more value to the customers. When an employee is delighted, he will delight the customer".
According to the BBC, HCL has received £5.5 million in grants from Northern Ireland’s business development authority in the last seven years.