Disney isn’t the happiest place in the world at the moment. 250 of its workers have been laid off, and HCL employees with H1-B visas have taken their place. The Disney workers have had to perform the unenviable task of training their replacements.
The laid off employees worked in the data systems division at the company. The company said that the move was a part of a reorganization, and the company had opened more positions than it had eliminated.
But that was scant consolation for laid off workers, many of whom had been with the company for years. “I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”
Companies struggling with a challenging economic climate in the US have often turned to outsourcing their jobs to companies in India. These Indian workers command lower salaries than their American counterparts, often resulting in savings of 25-50% for the companies.
This is the latest series of layoffs in the US after 540 employees at Southern California Edison were replaced with Indian immigrant workers. Watchmaker fossil had earlier replaced 100 of its tech employees with Indian workers from Infosys.
The H1-B visa is intended to cater to foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill discrete positions when American workers with those skills cannot be found. The scheme has been mired in controversy regarding its misuse in the recent past, with Infosys having to pay out a record $35 million in a lawsuit.