IT Layoffs – Are we really smart?

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series IT Life

Shyam Sundar who is part of NDLF IT/ITES Employees Wing has around 20 years of experience in information technology. He writes this article series “IT employees Life –  Fun or Problems” to create awareness about various issues faced by IT employees. This is the 9th and concluding part.

பெண்கள் மீது பாரபட்சம்

women employees are not treated at par with male employees;

Recently there is an article in The Hindu magazine about issues faced by women IT employees. The point discussed in that article in nutshell is women employees are not treated at par with male employees; salary hikes/onsite opportunities are given primarily to male employees. They also mentioned that core problem of this issue is that IT employees are not united in unions.

Women employees are more affected during layoffs. They are easy targets for management to meet their layoff targets.

If you see male/female ratio among employees with age group less than 30, it will be 50:50. But if we see the male/female ratio among employees in the age group of 40, it will be 85:15. We understand due to family/child care many female employees leave their job on their own. But still looking at the ratio in other sectors like banks, we can understand that more termination are targeted at senior woman employees. Management feels that woman employees will not fight against unfair dismissal due to various reasons and they are seen as easy targets.

Many women employees joined NDLF IT/ITES Employees Wing. Mrs Vasuki Srinivasan is elected as vice president of our union.

Now we will explore our message to management.

nfosys founder Mr Narayanamoorthy

There is a TV interview with Infosys founder Mr Narayanamoorthy on TV18 channel last year. He answered a query related to layoffs that it is completely unfortunate to layoff people who are employed in the company for several years. He also mentioned that organization should explore other options for cutting costs by reducing the salary of senior managers and avoid layoffs. He also mentioned that it will send a negative signal if companies go for buyback of shares while creating a crisis situation for employees.

But unfortunately all leading companies including Infosys, Wipro,TCS and HCL have gone for buy back of shares last year even as many employees were forced to leave their jobs.

As we mentioned earlier, terminating employment of a person not only affects the individual employee but their family, kids studying in school, dependent parents, medically dependent family members and all friends and family of the employee who run their life with the employee’s salary. So it is completely inappropriate to terminate employment for increasing profit margins.

But unfortunately all companies are trying to terminate senior employees to cut down their expenses. If for whatsoever reason, companies are forced to terminate employees, they should follow legal route instead of forcing employees to resign. We also request IT companies to encourage their employees to join unions and involve unions in their companies while making important decisions/policies related to employee benefits.

We will conclude this article by finding the answer of our primary question “whether the life of IT employees is fun or problem.”

The main advantage IT employees have is that they get better salary compared to employees in other sectors. They also have option to get onsite exposure and travel across the globe. On the other hand, they have irregular work timing, more stress and possibility of job loss when they grow in experience.

Employees in every sector have their own set of problems. So employees in IT sector should explore ways to find solutions to their problems instead of blaming the sector as a whole.

Protesting workers (file pic)

Once, when we were talking with the labor officer during one of the conciliation meeting, he mentioned that employee in other sectors become angry when their rights are threatened and take up the fight when they face layoffs. But in IT sector with more than 40 lakh employees, from well-educated background, very few people take up the legal battle. In one way, it is true as in entire IT sector we have only a few examples of employees like Ramesha who has taken legal fight against management.

But now many employees are increasingly joining unions and started fight against organizations. NDLF members have filed multiple 2A, 2K cases against various companies like CTS, TCS, Wipro, HCL, Mphasis, Nappier health care etc. Group of 70+ employees from Verizon approached labor officer in Chennai and Hyderabad against illegal retrenchments. If more and more employees join unions and take the legal fight, definitely it will turn in favor of employees and protect their rights.

So IT employees should come forward and adapt to the change by joining union. They should refuse when HR forces them to resign. They should legally fight if they face illegal retrenchment. This will increase the job protection for employees and safeguard employment rights.

So I conclude this article that life of IT employees with good salary, onsite exposures is more of fun provided employee learn to resist illegal terminations and fight for their rights in work place.

I hope this article is useful for you and if you like this series, please forward to your friends to spread awareness. I also want to mention in conclusion that I don’t have any intention of targeting any individual especially HR officers or any organization as part of this article. The aim is to spread awareness among IT employees. I apologize if any of my views hurt anyone as this is the first time I am writing an article of this nature.

As a conclusion, I am happy to introduce our NDLF core members to everyone. This group is started with help of several hundred factory workers who gathered in Sholinganallur signal, Chennai protesting against mass layoffs by TCS and to encourage IT employees forming labor unions.

Comrade Karpaga Vinayagam was elected as the organizer of IT Employees Wing and he led this group for more than 2 years. He played a vital role in increasing the strength of this union and instrumental in taking up legal battles against various organizations with the help of NDLF lawyers. He organized various campaigns to educate IT members to join unions. We should ensure to grow the seed to a big tree.

Mr. Vijayakumar, State Treasurer of NDLF is the Honorary President of IT Employees Wing. He has vast experience in handling various union activities and legal fights. He guides our union to handle various legal issues in effective manner.

I want to thank lawyer Suresh Sakthi Murugan who helped us in providing various legal points in this article. I also thank lawyer Mohammad who supported many IT employees in legal battles against Wipro.

I also want to introduce Kumar and Praveen who are part of NDLF who traveled across India to promote union activities and organize various events successfully. I am also thankful to Kumar for adding appropriate pictures and edit the content of this article to make it better.

I am also thankful to Kasi and Saravanan for bringing ebook version of this series of article successfully. I thank all other union members for forwarding these articles and creating awareness among fellow IT employees

I am thankful for all readers who read this articles and provided their comments. You can send your feedback to or call us at 9003009641 if you have any queries in this article.

We request all readers to forward this article to your friends and colleagues in IT industry.

– Shyam Sundar

Series Navigation<< Join Union to secure our legal rights

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