Software companies Infosys and Tech Mahindra are trimming their workforce significantly this appraisal season. But on Wednesday, the IT firms denied laying off their staff, clarifying that they were only flushing out the non-performers.

While Infosys plans to sack an unspecified number of employees, Tech Mahindra has laid off more than a thousand workers this month. “We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year, and this year is no different,” a Tech Mahindra spokesperson told Business Standard.

With Wipro and Cognizant, too, having handed out pink slips to their employees, Wipro executives maintained a similar stand. “[The company] undertakes a rigorous performance appraisal process on a regular basis to align its workforce,” an official told the daily. The tech major is believed to have sacked around 700 employees in the 2016-’17 financial year, according to IANS.

Infosys, too, said it will not hesitate to fire staff on the grounds of poor performance. “A continued low feedback on performance could lead to certain performance actions, including separation of an individual,” said the Bengaluru-based company. Officials told IANS that hundreds of mid- and senior-level employees could be asked to leave, but the firm has yet to state a figure.

News of the layoffs comes as the software giants are trying to tide over slow growth trajectories. Companies are facing a tough time because of automation, a change in technology, stress on digital services, stricter visa rules and a sluggish global economy.

Meanwhile, a forum of software professionals has appealed to the Tamil Nadu and Telangana governments to take action against Cognizant for allegedly illegally terminating its employees.

Like all the other firms, Cognizant, too, denied any layoffs and said the workers were asked to leave for performing unsatisfactorily. “Each year, as is the best practice across our industry, we conduct performance review to ensure we have the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve our business goals,” a spokesperson told NDTV. “This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company. Any actions as a result of this process are performance-based and generally consistent with those we’ve made in previous years.”