Blackberrys, the Indian clothing brand owned by Mohan Clothing Co., has laid off 120 employees amidst the pandemic. The employee strength of the Company is around 3,000.
To start with, a decision was taken to shut operations in unprofitable markets and retrench the workforce for optimum efficiency. The Company had already been strategising and taking necessary steps internally by optimising hierarchy, operations and structure since last year.
This was definitely not an easy decision. Our senior management, along with the HR team critically evaluated every possible solution before finally deciding to downsize
Ashima Deepak Kaul, head-HR, Blackberrys, tells HRKatha, “This is the first time in 29 years that the Company has planned to restructure its business. We are deeply saddened by this tough decision, but unfortunately, this is essential for the survival of Blackberrys.”
While the Company was in the final stages of restructuring and consolidation of operations, the coronavirus outbreak hit the business hard. Within a few weeks of the lockdown, its operations, sales and revenue came to a complete standstill.
“We understand that such a decision at this time may impose hardships on our employees, and hence, we are doing all we can to minimise the impact on our teammates,” assures Kaul.
“This was definitely not an easy decision. Our senior management, along with the HR team critically evaluated every possible solution before finally deciding to downsize,” adds Kaul.
While the Company claims that, despite the lockdown and its economic impact on the business, it was able to pay salaries to its workforce for March, April, and May, some of the employees have a different story to tell.
When HRKatha got in touch with a few of them, they said, “We were asked to go on leave without pay for 15 days, and hence, were paid only for the remaining days.”
The employees complained of being fired without any reason. Those who refused to resign were terminated from employment, immediately.
The employees shared screenshots of mails informing them that the ongoing transformation objectives — in order to streamline the resources— had realigned certain roles or rendered them redundant.
With the downsizing decision in place, the apparel company does not plan to launch new stores. In fact, it is looking to close certain non-viable stores at different locations. As a result, several roles and resources in the Company are now redundant. Going forward, it is looking to maintain efficiency and control infructuous expenditure on such resources.
Blackberrys claims that all affected employees have been offered significant severance packages to help them deal with the current situation.
“We are adhering to the terms of employment and all relieved employees will receive their complete dues. The Company has extended health insurance to its employees until October 2020,” reveals Kaul.
While parental insurance is also being extended, on a case to case basis, the Company claims to have set up an emergency fund wherein the company as well as the employees will contribute to employees who need help.
“We have set up an emergency fund for the employees who are facing a crisis or are in urgent need of funds owing to illness, family emergency or other medical reasons,” shares Kaul.
The Indian formal wear brand claims to be offering its employees strong recommendations that can help them secure good jobs and improve their prospects. It has apparently set up a platform to guide all employees in their next phase of career.
As per Company policies, all outgoing employees will serve the notice period and receive all dues. Additionally, all the outgoing employees will receive ex-gratia payments.
“Thankfully, we can see the situation returning to normal and are optimistic that things will soon be even better than before. Hence, we are not looking forward to any more layoffs currently,” Kaul concludes.