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Satyam staff get offers but with 50% pay cut

CH Prashanth Reddy in Hyderabad | January 27, 2009 09:26 IST

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Employees of Satyam Computer Services [Get Quote] are in a quandary over looking for jobs outside the company. Some admit that consultants are offering them jobs, but at salaries that are almost half their current cost-to-company packages. Many others are running into a dead-end given the poor job market.

"We are in a tricky situation. If we join another company, we will get a lower salary. If we stick around, we are not sure how long we will be secure," summed up an associate (that's what Satyam calls its employees) from Hyderabad on condition of anonymity.

"Consultants are extracting details from Satyam-ites on their plans to relocate, their expectations on salaries and other perks, but they are not revealing who these clients are," said another associate who works at the company's Bahadurpally campus on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

A Bangalore-based company, he added, was throwing out the bait of mass recruitments for 200 positions. "We are, however, adopting a wait-and-watch stance and are deferring the calls," he claimed.

Rajasekhar (name changed) at the Bahadurpally campus said those who have attended interviews at other companies hesitate to take the process forward because there is no major jump in salaries and the job profile offered is not the same. "A job change will mean a lot of updating to fit the new job descriptions," he said.

Another employee, who initially thought of accepting an offer from Bank of America, is now thinking of sticking to Satyam. "There is increased confidence from clients. That is a good sign," he said, adding that clients like Cisco and General Electric have communicated their willingness to continue with Satyam.

An associate said her colleagues from Delhi and Gurgaon had tapped several sources for new opportunities but had not been successful so far. Her immediate superior, however, held a staff meeting January 23, about two weeks after founder Ramalinga Raju's January-7 confessions of financial fraud, and assured them that there would be no lay-offs, bringing relief to the 600-odd employees engaged in the vertical.

He also reportedly told them that 90 per cent of the amount required to pay January salaries was already in place and it was not a problem to mobilise the remaining 10 per cent. Satyam needs Rs 450-500 crore (Rs 4-5 billion) a month for salaries.

In another communication, the company has also assured employees that it would renew their insurance policies.

Since nothing has been said about February's salaries, however, employees did not feel confident about not looking for jobs elsewhere.

"There should be a takeover of the company. This will remove a lot of the psychological trauma associated with current developments," said a team leader.

Reports that Larsen and Toubro, Unitech, Essar and Aegis among other are showing interest in acquiring Satyam or at least some of its verticals are keeping their hopes alive.

He added, though, that many associates have decided to stay two or three months more. "I think we will all have work to do. After all, clients will need at least six months to a year to find new service providers," said one employee.

There are many associates who think like him. "Satyam is not Ramalinga Raju alone. The employees understand that and they're all working hard to see the bigger picture," is how another associate responded to a query on the impact of the new, government appointed six-member board's initiatives.

Meanwhile, a mail is doing rounds from the employees who see a future in Satyam. "When one man can create Satyam as an organisation of 53,000 people, why cannot 53,000 committed people rebuild one SATYAM?" the mail asks. Or perhaps he means 40,000 since Raju has also reportedly confessed to overstating Satyam's head-count.

Additional Reporters: B Krishna Mohan & K Rajani Kanth


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