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BPOs to stop staff transport facility?
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | December 24, 2007 16:07 IST
The appreciation of the rupee has not really spelt great times for quite a few. Consider the business process industry in Bangalore. According to experts the operating margins for BPO units are at 12 per cent and the appreciation of the rupee this year is expected to have a 9 per cent impact on their margins: meaning it will effectively negate whatever big profits or growth BPO units were hoping for.
BPO units now find themselves in a situation which they might want to call double trouble. First, abnormal work patterns (night shifts, for one) are taking a toll on several employees, thus prompting them to quit and look for some other employment.
The second is the rise of the rupee which seems to be burning a hole in the employers' pocket as a result of which they intend withdrawing several goodies, offered to employees, as a cost-cutting measure.
A senior process executive at a BPO said on conditions of anonymity that there are plans of withdrawing daytime transport services for employees as a cost-cutting measure. The executive also added that in the days to come, some BPO units might even charge a nominal fee from the employee for the night transport service.
The door-to-door pick up service is another factor that seems to be eating into the pockets of the BPOs. Some firms have already announced to their employees about the withdrawal of this service. Employees living in the same area may have to come to a common point in their respective localities from where they shall be picked up.
The firms are, however, concerned about the security of their women employees, especially in the wake of the Pratibha Shetty rape and murder case for which the entire industry came under flak in Bangalore.
BPOs say that the cost-cutting plans will apply only to male employees, while women may just be charged a nominal fee for their transport. However, there will be no change in the drop facility, thanks to the work timings in this industry.
There are a few BPOs in Bangalore which insist that changing the transport pattern may not help in cutting costs. They feel that the biggest advantage of working in a BPO is the transport facility and withdrawing it may only worsen the attrition rate.
Some firms insist that they will not withdraw the transport facility, but will increase the working hours instead. They have already issued a directive to their employees regarding the increased working hours from 45 hours a week to 50 hours. This, they feel, will help increase productivity thereby negating the disadvantage caused by the rising value of the rupee.