Second round of layoffs at BCCL?

As per highly placed sources, almost 100 employees across teams have either been asked to leave or their contracts have not been renewed in the last couple of months

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Apr 21, 2021 9:04 AM



Even with circulation and business touching close to 90% compared to pre-Covid times, the distress across newsrooms is far from over. BCCL is one such case in point. A fresh round of retrenchments has hit their newsrooms across the country. After closing down editions such as Times Life and Sunday ET Magazine in phases through 2020, TOI and ET saw more pink slips being given out in the last two-three months. As per highly placed sources, almost 100 employees across teams have either been asked to leave or their contracts have not been renewed in the last couple of months.

While almost the entire team of Sunday ET was asked to leave, the layoffs are not restricted to this team alone. A lot of other verticals such as the political bureau, commodities bureau, sports team etc have also seen downsizing. Recently, 15 employees from the Kochi team were also asked to leave. In this second round of layoffs and paycuts, ET and TOI have taken two different paths. While TOI has allegedly gone for a second round of paycuts, ET has handed pink slips to a sizeable chunk of the editorial staff across bureaus and editions.

It is also said that a lot of journalists have been shifted to consultant positions. Sources also revealed how journalists with expired contracts are not being offered contract renewals.

“We have been told there will be more layoffs in the coming days,” said a senior journalist from ET on conditions of anonymity.

Turns out, more than 1000 employees across editorial and non-editorial functions were given pink slips in the last one year.

Barely a month or so into the lockdown, BCCL had announced paycuts and layoffs. But, perhaps the decision was taken much before the pandemic hit the country. The company posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 451.63 crore for the fiscal ended March 31, 2020, compared to a net profit of Rs 484.27 crore of the previous fiscal. Not only did the revenue from operations dropped to Rs 9,254.53 crore compared to Rs 9,611.42 crore posted a year ago, the company’s total income also fell to Rs 9,733.45 crore from Rs 10,467.53 crore. Their advertisement revenue too shrunk to Rs 5,367.88 crore from Rs 6,155.32 crore while revenue from the sale of publications declined to Rs 629.96 crore from Rs 656.09 crore.

It all started in the early days of the lockdown when journalists were asked to leave, sent on furlough or given huge paycuts. Indian Express and Business Standard were the first to announce paycuts followed by almost all major newspapers. The news of paycuts and layoffs hasn’t stopped since.

Interestingly though, in March this year, employees also got a letter from the chairman’s office announcing pay-out of TVP and other incentives.

“Pay-out of 100% Target Variable Pay (TVP) to all our employees who will be on the rolls of the company as on 30th April, 2021.Pay-out of the SPIP (Special Performance Incentive Pay) component in the employee’s salary every month during April ’21 – March ’22 for a period of one year,” read an excerpt from the letter.

exchange4media reached out to BCCL enquiring about the same, but the communications did not elicit any response.

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