A group of employees of online fashion retailer Yepme are planning to take legal action against the parent company VAS Data Services Private Limited for nonpayment of salaries for over six months, reports The Times of India. The report mentions that this group of about 20 employees had sent a legal notice to the company last month demanding that their salaries be paid within 15 days, but there was no acknowledgement from Yepme’s end.
This isn’t the first time that Yepme employees have complained about delayed salaries. In July this year, four employees of Yepme had approached the Labour Commission in Gurgaon with a similar complaint. The complaint also mentioned that the company was putting undue pressure on them to resign. A few months earlier, in March, another group of employees had also put forth almost identical complaints before the Labour Commission. Read a copy of the complaint letter here.
It’s worth noting that in May this year, Yepme had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Gokaldas Exports Ltd and the funds had been earmarked for the launch of its ethnic wear range and for expansion of its UK operations.
Layoffs at Yepme
In January this year, the company had shutdown its warehousing and quality control units and consequently 30 employees had been laid off. The following month, it was reported that Yepme was looking to layoff over 50% of its total workforce, though it’s not clear if the company went through with this or not.
Learning from the AskMe case
After AskMe employees wrote an open anonymous letter to Ananda Krishnan of the Malaysian media and telecom company Astro, complaining about delayed salaries and demanding payment of outstanding dues, AskMe Group’s CMO and head of digital strategy Manav Sethi had told MediaNama that the company doesn’t have the money to pay its employees their salaries for July as it’s waiting for money to come in from Astro. In June 2016, AskMe made a management buyout (MBO) proposal to Astro to buy back the stake Astro held in the company. AskeMe’s parent company is Getit Infomedia, which Astro had acquired 50% stake in 2010 for around $20 million.
Earlier, AskMe had denied reports of layoffs and had said that the employees had been moved to partner organisations. At the time Sethi had said that “at the end of every year we take a hard look at the functions, skills and capabilities that we don’t need to keep on our payroll. We’ve done that exercise and moved those skills, capabilities and functions from our payroll to our partners.”
This is the least that Yepme could do at this point. They need to clearly state the reasons why they have repeatedly failed to pay salaries in time and outline a concrete plan for correcting the same.