Why Vivo’s layoff of 60 employees at Greater Noida turned ugly

Layoffs are a tricky thing. The latest example emerged from Vivo India’s corridors. The company is an arm of the Chinese smart phone maker which fired about 60 workers at its Greater Noida plant recently. When it fired the workers a few days ago, little had it imagined that the event would take an ugly turn. The news did not go well with workers who started protesting it and created ruckus when no clear reason was told to them for their sudden layoff.

As per reports, the employees did not get any prior notice and were asked to leave post lunch. When the employees resisted, a scuffle broke out that took an ugly turn. We will not go into the nitty gritty of the things but this is a big learning hidden for every manufacturer. The companies can not simply hire and fire people. They need to be process-driven and align themselves to certain rules so that there is least problem when laying off. As hiring is part of the trade, firing does happen when the business is going well. These kind of incidents are not good for the reputation of the brand and of a segment (smartphone manufacturing). Adhering to processes brings down the chances of protest in such form.

Vivo India needs to learn how human workforce-related issues are and should be handled. It can not simply issue a statement after things have tumbled out of the closet and come in the public. Vivo India’s press statement in support of the layoffs does not seem convincing and show that it did not adopt a standard practice to do away with employees. This is what the company said in its statement: “With continuous growth and strategic review, we look at staffing the right size in various divisions to improve productivity. The layoff is in line with this business decision. We have strictly adhered to the rules and regulations, and the contract, and are taking all the right measures to ensure a peaceful transition keeping their best interests in consideration.”

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