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Floor figure goes flip-flop
- Calls dry up, chunk of IT major staff in training mode

One step back, two steps forward ' that seems to be the way ahead for Wipro in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's Bengal.

To cut redundancy on the floor, the business process outsourcing (BPO) major has recently taken around 200 employees off the floor and placed them in training mode. But then, an aggressive round of ramping-up is also on the cards.

Though officials are tight-lipped about the fall in floor-count, sources at the Saltlec centre link it to a sudden drop in the number of calls.

'From a peak of 20 to 22 per agent, calls handled per day dropped to around eight,' said an employee, who was logged out from the floor and signed up for training.

When contacted, a Wipro spokesperson declined comment on what had triggered this realignment. 'Ramping up and ramping down are very common in the industry. Besides, we don't disclose information about our processes and clients.'

But the 20-something call centre agent explained the reason behind lower number of calls ' Dell, the sole client at the Calcutta centre, had started charging its customers for accessing support services.

While a section of the 200-odd employees has shifted base to Mumbai for training on new processes, most are undergoing training in the city centre. 'We are told that we'll be placed in new processes in a month's time. The rest is fine,' confirmed another employee.

Wipro's BPO operations in Calcutta have around 800 employees. Though a majority of them was recruited to handle Dell's processes, the number on the floor has now been pegged at 400. The numbers could move further southwards.

This, however, can be countered with a fresh round of recruitment and customer acquisition. 'We are hiring, as most of our new customers are eager to move to Calcutta to tap the technical talent pool,' revealed the Wipro spokesperson.

Refusing to quote targets, he put a rough figure to the ramp-up: 'We recruit around 1,500 people every month. In the next two to three months, we are looking at a situation where one-third or half of the new recruitment will be in Calcutta.'

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