After firing 800 employees, Fareportal says will ‘help’ them find job

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Sumit Singh

Pune, April 18, 2020: Fareportal, a global travel tech firm based in New York, USA, has offices in India at Gurgaon and Viman Nagar in Pune. During this hard time of COVID19 when the whole world is coming together to help each other, Fareportal asked its employees to resign within 2 hours or the organisation will terminate everyone. Since March 24, the company has terminated jobs of about 800 employees.

After sent email to know their side, the company replied, “Fareportal is an on-line travel agency whose main business is the sale of airline tickets to consumers in North America. The pandemic has devastated our business because almost no one is flying. If people aren’t flying, then they aren’t buying tickets using Fareportal’s thousands of employees to help them book.

Since the pandemic began, Fareportal’s business is down over 90%. Our focus today is on maintaining a viable business that can survive this worldwide economic disaster. To help with this the CEO has given up his entire salary.

Fareportal, like virtually every company in the airline and travel industries, has been forced to reduce global staff. Fareportal’s initial employee terminations were modest compared to other companies but as the situation got worse, we had to reduce our workforce further. Without revenue, we were forced to reduce staff or risk the existence of the company. These steps were taken with great regret and are the first economic terminations in Fareportal’s 25-year history.

Fareportal still supports a workforce of approximately 2,000 in India. We care deeply about our employees and are doing everything possible for the people who were let go. Everyone who was laid off will receive their entire notice pay. As a gesture of compassion due to the coronavirus situation, the company is also providing 18 days extra full pay until May 3. We are offering outplacement counseling to help them find a new job once the Indian and world economy begins to recover and are also providing insurance coverage from April 15 through June 30, 2020. We are launching an online job fair, providing resume writing support and doing everything we can to aid in their transition.

Amid the coronavirus’s economic devastation, all Fareportal companies and business units are doing everything possible to preserve thousands of jobs by ensuring that the company survives. It is our hope that once the pandemic is over and the economy recovers, Fareportal will once again enter a growth phase and be able to add to our workforce.”

Employees Ordeal Began on March 24 in Gurugram

The sacking began on March 24 when HR called satffers in Gurugram office to submit their resignations. Within 24 hours about 600 employees lost their jobs. On March 26, Fareportal posted on its social media accounts, “Travel industry jobs are being lost due to the impact of coronavirus. We’re so proud of our CEO Sam S. Jain for reducing his salary to $1 per year and reinvesting that money in saving jobs here at Fareportal!” And, sacking of employees continued on March 28/29 in Pune office. Another round of termination is expected soon and those who are working from home are worried.

200 Employees of Fareportal sacked in Pune 
According to sources, out of 650 employees working at Fareportal office on the 4th floor of Lunkad Tech Park in Viman Nagar, 200 have already lost their jobs while 100 more are staring at their termination. “On 29th of March my company terminated around 200 employees without any reason. Even on their termination letter there is no reason mentioned. Now they are planning to terminate 100 more people by end of this month”, said many employees of Fareportal.

A senior employee told, “All the employees were sacked on almost the same day. They are from all the departments majorly from the operations. Even managers, assistant managers and team leaders were fired without giving any reason.”

“There was no warning. First they told us that there will be no appraisal because of the Coronavirus situation. Then on 29th March suddenly they fired people from jobs”, another employee informed.

This job was the only source of income for most of them and they even denied providing the salary at the month end they said the salary will be credited as per FNF after 45 days. There are employees who run their house depending on this job; people have loans, EMI, rents to take care of.

The Corona virus has been spreading rapidly across the world over the last few months. The COVID-19 has been officially declared pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The viral disease is spreading fast in India and the Union Government of India as well as state governments have directed IT/ITES companies to give “Work from Home” WFH or paid leaves, not to do any terminations in this situation.

Many organisations like All India Forum for IT/ITES Employees (AIFITE), All India Trade Union Congress and All India IT & ITES Employees’ Union (AIITEU) lodged complaints with the Central government as well as state governments of Haryana and Maharashtra. But no action has been taken by the government in the last 24 days since Fareportal began terminating jobs of its employees.