If the previous few years were the golden period for e-commerce in India, 2017 is turning out to be just the opposite.
After Snapdeal had fired more than 500 employees earlier this year, YepMe’s employees have now alleged they haven’t been paid for six months. These employees have moved to the courts to get the company to pay their salaries.
These employees had sent a legal notice to the company on August 28, giving them 15 days’ time to reimburse their salaries. However, Yepme has neither accepted the notice, nor replied to it, reports Times of India. “It’s been almost a year since I’ve received salary. In April, I told them to clear my dues so that I could resign, but they asked me to quit without the dues being cleared,” said graphic designer Manoj Sharma. The employees say that over 50 of them haven’t been paid.
Employees had earlier also approached the Labour Ministry in a bid to recover their salaries, and sent a formal complaint. Some employees had even taken to social media.
@LabourMinistry my company is not giving salary ..Please assist.
— rohit (@rohit329) August 4, 2017
YepMe had been founded in 2011 by Sandeep Sharma, an IIM Bangalore alum, and Vivek Gaur and Anand Jadhav, who were from IIM Lucknow. Through the next five years, it would go on to raise over Rs. 500 crore through investors such as Helion Venture Partners and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. In 2014, YepMe had even run an aggressive marketing campaign, featuring Shah Rukh Khan as their brand ambassador.
The firm, though, consistently made heavy losses, ending up losing Rs. 184 crore in 2016. Earlier this year, there were reports that it was facing a cash crunch, and was looking to fire 80% of its employees. In May, the company had raised Rs. 6.26 crore in a bridge round to stay afloat.
That doesn’t seem to have proven to be enough, with many employees still waiting for their salaries. This is a scenario that’s repeatedly played out at smaller Indian e-commerce firms over the couple of years. In August 2016, AskMeBazaar had fired 4,000 employees and had seen its sellers protest at its office over unpaid dues. In December, Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra owned BestDeal TV had been taken to court after sellers alleged that they hadn’t been paid.