Pay hike amid layoff strikes a sour note

Salary hikes in the times of layoffs. That’s what the IT industry is witness to at present. And the IT employee unions are not taking this contrary lightly. Forum for IT Employees (FITE) compared the salary increments at Infosys — widely respected for fair play — to politicians giving themselves good hikes in scant regard to sufferings of common man.
“Year-after-year, IT companies remove and sack professionals and simultaneously hike their top executives’ salaries in the name of fancied compensation based on variable pay and stock incentives,” FITE general secretary AJ Vinod said.
“They are just like the politicians who hike their salaries, without being concerned about people's problems, including job losses. It is painful,” Vinod added. The FITE is a forum of IT employees and has presence in nine IT hubs, including Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru.
According to the 2017 annual report of Infosys, payouts of at least four Infosys executives have increased by over 50 per cent in the previous financial year. “When you give 10 or 20 per cent hike to top executives, it drains out a lot of money from the purses of the companies, which compels them to take the measure of sacking professionals,” the FITE said.
Another front, the New Democratic Labour Front, said Infosys should understand that such handsome hike is possible because of the employees who put in 10 to 12 hours of work. Infosys chief operating officer UB Pravin Rao’s total salary increased to Rs 11.80 crore in FY17 from Rs 8.14 crore the previous year. Likewise, compensation of the deputy chief operating officer, Ravi Kumar S, went up to Rs 14.87 crore from Rs 8.27 crore. Chief executive Vishal Sikka’s total compensation, including bonus and grant of stocks, however, fell 7 per cent to Rs 45.11 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 48.41 crore the previous fiscal.
Sikka received a base salary of $1 million in FY17, up from $ 900,000 in the previous year. His bonus and incentives dropped to $0.82 million ($4.36 million in FY16) as against the target of $3 million. He also received restricted stock units worth $2 million, the same as the previous year, and performance based stock incentives of $2.88 million. The remuneration of Sikka for the last fiscal remains 283.07 times higher than the median remuneration of employees (MRE) of Infosys. The MRE of Infosys for FY17 stood at Rs 5,65,585.
Other top executives who got a hike are Mohit Joshi, Sandeep Dadlani and Rajesh Murthy. Joshi got Rs 14.62 crore in 2016-17, up from Rs 9.02 crore in the previous year, Dadlani got Rs 14.97 crore as against Rs 8.4 crore in the previous year and Murthy got Rs 14.25 crore as compared to Rs 8.55 crore. The hike was mainly because of increased performance-based stock incentives. Non-executive chairman R Seshasayee got Rs 1.95 crore in remuneration in 2016-17 as compared to Rs 1.84 crore in the previous year. Other independent directors too got a remuneration of over
Rs 1 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)