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TOI lays off Times Life staff in just third week of lockdown

The decision to lay off staff members by the Times Group, India’s largest and arguably the most powerful media house, has come as a surprise to many as the company has rarely fired employees in the past. The group is likely to rationalise a lot of its divisions and supplements across Times of India, Economic Times and other publications. Company insiders say there could be more lay-offs and salary cuts if the market situation doesn't improve in the next few months

It's barely been three weeks into the nationwide lockdown and Indian media companies have started using it as an excuse to lay off some of its staff.

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On Monday, the Sunday magazine team at The Times of India that was producing four-pager Times Life was asked to leave.

Also read: Raghav Bahl’s The Quint sends 50% workforce on leave without pay

According to highly placed sources, 5-6 staff members were informed about the company's decision to lay them off on Monday and the rest of the team members will be communicated soon.

Also read: Modi appeals to businesses to protect jobs as media firms take drastic cost-cutting measures

Nona Walia, a team member of Times Life who was working with TOI for over 23 years, took to social media to express her anguish over an ill-timed move by the company.

The revenue of the supplement that has a circulation of over one million had been shrinking over the last six months.

Already under business pressure, the magazine was scrapped during the lockdown and the content of ‘Times Life’ was used as a page in the main book (the main paper).

In all, the bad business followed by worst market conditions cost the jobs of the entire team but at a time when there is hardly any job in the market.

Besides, news is also doing rounds that ET Panache will be merged with Bombay Times as the former has asked 50% of its staff to leave. could not verify this piece of information at the time of filing of this report.

The move by India’s largest English daily and arguably most powerful media house has taken everyone by surprise. An old hand at TOI told that it is very unusual at the Times Group, which absorbs people in other places in case any unit is closed. “There are many business arms and Times always shifted its people to handle other responsibilities. Having said that, it was expected from the group to be with their employees at a time when it was needed the most.”

It may be recalled that Express Group which publishes Indian Express and Financial Express along with the digital platform had set the precedence in the beginning of the lockdown. The company, in the first week of April, announced a temporary salary cut across owing to business pressure due to the coronavirus crisis.

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