Accenture closes Dhaka office
Accenture, a global professional services company, left Bangladesh shutting its Dhaka office on Monday without paying the current month's salary and other benefits to its staff members, according to some employees.
Some 300 employees staged demonstration in front of Accenture's office in Gulshan and threatened to go on a hunger strike to realise the dues and benefits, Shahin Ahmed, general secretary of the Accenture Employees Union Bangladesh, said yesterday.
The demonstration will continue until the demands are met, he said.
The announcement of the closure of operations came from a tri-party talk among the Accenture management, employee leaders and government representative.
The management of the firm sent a common email to its employees Sunday night, communicating that it was closing the office, Ahmed said.
Raihan Shamsi, chief executive officer of Accenture Communications Infrastructure Solutions Ltd, declined to comment.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Accenture made foray into Bangladesh in 2013 after acquiring 51 percent share of Grameenphone's GPIT, which used to provide IT solutions to the mobile phone operator.
Accenture had also hoped to provide end-to-end solutions to banks, financial institutions, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and telecom companies. But company insiders said it did not gain much traction.
Accenture also failed to retain work order from Grameenphone. In an open tender this year, it lost out to Wipro, a global information technology company based in Bangalore, India.
Under these circumstances, the outsourcing firm announced its plan to wind up the operations in July this year.
Since the decision was shared with employees, the union has been demanding 60 basic salaries, a practice that is followed by Grameenphone in case of golden handshakes, along with benefits such as provident funds, gratuity funds and leave encashment facilities.
But Accenture did not agree to give even 30 basic salaries, said Ahmed.
Aminul Islam, a joint secretary of the labour and employment ministry, who attended the talks as government representative, expressed his surprise after knowing that Accenture had closed its office without concluding the negotiation. “I have informed our minister (Md Mujibul Haque) about the situation and we will act according to his decision,” said Islam.
Although the employees union demanded 60 basic salaries, the government is trying to settle it at 36 basic salaries, the joint secretary also said.
Accenture had 556 employees. After the final decision on closure, 191 of them joined Wipro, which has already opened office in Dhaka. Grameenphone holds 49 percent share in Accenture Bangladesh.
Earlier this month, Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group, the majority shareholder of Grameenphone, was asked about the Accenture issue but he also refused to make any comment.Accenture has operations in more than 120 countries.