As part of NDLF IT Employees Wing’s campaign against mass layoffs in Wipro, Cognizant and other companies, we organized a group of affected Wipro employees and gathered their demands. After passing relevant resolutions in the union meeting, we had filed 2K petition with Union’s demands to Wipro Management. Nearly 20 employees came in person to file the 2K petition on 25-07-2017.
The picture alongside shows a partial set of Chennai Wipro employees who came to Labour office and agreed to be photographed. We have similar set of employees in Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad and planning to file 2K in all areas.
We had our first hearing with labor officer in Chennai on July 31st. Representative from Wipro management did not come for the first conciliation meeting. During the meeting, Wipro employees had a detailed discussion with labor officer and raised various concerns of the employees.
There is a list of 100 employees from different locations of Wipro, affected by the recent layoffs who contacted us. We submitted a partial list of 45 employees with Employee Id, Name, Wipro Email Id to the labor officer during the hearing on 31st July.
This is the first petition filed under section 2K of Industrial Disputes Act by a registered trade union against any IT major in India.
We call upon employees of IT companies such as Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and others to prepare a charter of demands and join NDLF IT Employees Wing to approach the company for collective negotiation and further dispute resolution through labour department.
Based on the knowledge gathered from the discussion we had with labour officer we are publishing this article
- Information technology sector comes under Industrial dispute act. All employees performing skilled and technical work are workmen under ID Act. IT employees who require skill and technical knowledge to perform their work, are definitely classified as workman.
- If any employee is illegally terminated (forced resignation), they can file petition under section 2A of Industrial Disputes Act 1947. This 2A petition is filed if an employee is terminated illegally. Legal proceedings may go for 1-2 years, but when illegal termination is proved, employee will be reinstated back in their jobs. If it takes 2 years to get the judgement, employee will be reinstated with back wages for this 2 years period. So employees should come forward and file petition under section 2A in case of forced resignation.
- Petition under section 2K is for collective grievances on various demands of employees and unfair labour practices in the company. This can be represented by trade union.
- When your petition is pending in labor department, if company in their internal discussion ask you to resign, you can say that 2K petition is pending with labor department and talking about separation is unfair labour practice and this has to be discussed in front of labor officer.
- While 2K petition is pending against the company, as per Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act, company should not alter the service condition of any of the concerned employees until the dispute is resolved. Please refer this link for more details on Section 33.
- A worker employed in a factory or construction will not tolerate insults by any one. Being in a white collar job, IT employees are hesitant to take up the fight to uphold their professional pride. This has to be changed, when more and more employees join unions situation will change.
- Company policies and terms and conditions mentioned in appointment letter can not override provisions of Industrial Disputes Act. An act passed by Parliament elected by people can not be overridden by 2 parties in an agreement.
- If the company wants to reduce its workforce Retrenchment can be done with prior approval from labor department. The company should justify need for retrenchment in terms of losses or adverse market conditions.
Even then, employees will be sent based on their experience level. People who joined recently will be retrenched first before sending senior employees. The company should offer severance packages to the employees as part of retrenchment process.
NDLF IT Employees Wing organizes its members as a strong union, guides them to go for collective negotiation, helps them in filing 2A and 2K petitions and also stand in solidarity with various sections of working class. We invite all IT/ITES employees to join NDLF IT Employees Wing.
To join our union, please call us at 9003198576 or write to us at email@example.com, our volunteers will get in touch with you. We want more junior employees from different companies to form as group and join our union.
Copy of letter sent to Mr. Saurab Govil, Chief HR Officer of Wipro
Greetings from New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees Wing.
NDLF is a registered trade union and for the past 20 years we are organizing workers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The IT Employees Wing of NDLF was formed on January 10, 2015.
We are also organizing IT Employees in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata and other cities to register as union.
As part of our activities, we help employees in
- Fighting against unfair terminations and file grievance petition under section 2A of Industrial Disputes Act.
- Seek collective bargaining rights for employees on employment related issues.
- File petition under section 2K of Industrial Disputes Act for collective bargaining disputes with companies.
We have several employees of Wipro registered as our members. We would like to bring various grievances submitted by our members to your attention in the following 2 categories:
I. Employees unfairly rated as under performers and still working in the company.
II. Employees unfairly rated as under performers, forced to resign, and left the company.
We understand that the above categories were created primarily due to a concept called Band Inertia introduced by Wipro as part of appraisal system. This especially targets the senior employees. In addition, many other junior employees (who were not part of Band Inertia) also face the above situation.
Our members informed us that the logic of band inertia is as below:
- If a person is in the same band for 7 years, he/she will be part of band inertia. In this case, performance of the employee is not considered and HR asked managers to mark “More Contribution Expected (MCE)” or “Unsatisfactory contribution UC)” to these employees.
- If the employee is in a project, they are released to bench.
- Primary target of Band inertia is people in Band B3 and above (Senior people whose experience is more than 10 years).
- The main problem here is that if there are 1000 people in one band, only 50 positions are available for promotion. Hence, in 7 years, about 350 people will be promoted and remaining 650 people will come under Band inertia.
Many employees were rated as under performers as per Band Inertia policy or otherwise in a non-transparent appraisal system.
I. Employees rated as under performers (MCE/UC) and still working in the company
- Almost 100 Wipro employees unfairly rated as under performer have contacted us. Their profile is blocked from being allocated to any project and they are forced to sit in bench. This results in such employees not getting variable pay which makes up nearly 20% of their gross salary.
- These employees are asked/threatened/harassed by different HR managers to submit self-resignation. They are under constant threat of being forced out of the company illegally.
- These employees express concern that company is intentionally keeping them in bench and raise different compliance issues in addition to the performance rating.
- This affects their career growth badly.
- This has taken a huge toll on them psychologically and many of them are highly depressed.
On behalf of these employees, we request you to allocate projects to all of them and allow them to work. We attach names of some of affected employees herewith. We will provide the details of more affected employees in further conversation.
II. Employee rated as under performers and forced to resign
- Several hundred employees have been forced to submit self-resignation.
- Many such employees, after submitting resignation, raised revoke request and Wipro management is not accepting those requests.
- Some of the employees resisted the pressure to resign but resignation was triggered programetically by the management and shown as if the employee resigned voluntarily.
We cite the example of Mallikarjun for this case.
- Some of the employees approached labour department and filed grievance under section 2A of Industrial Disputes Act against their forced resignation. But Wipro team did not come to the hearings on these petitions. When the notice period ran out the employees were eased out of the company.
We cite the example of Appaji Venkatrayal’s case where Wipro team did not turn up for hearings on his petition to Labour Department and he was forced out of the company.
We request you to reinstate these employees back into their roles.
We require your immediate attention to the above complaints and request you to arrive at an amicable solution in favour of employees.
If you have any further queries, please write back to us.
for NDLF IT Employees Wing