In reply to a petition submitted by NDLF in January 2015 (W.P.No. 4422/2015) , a subsequent order by Madras High Court and after repeated reminders, Tamil Nadu government has announced the following decisions regarding implementation of labour laws in the IT sector.
- All the labour legislations are applicable to all the IT and ITES companies.
- IT company employees are free to form trade union.
- They can redress their grievances through evoking the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act 1947.
- No IT industry has been exempted from the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947.
- Affected employees can approach the conciliation officers to redress their problems regarding retrenchment or termination or for any other grievances.
With this confirmation of Tamil Nadu government about the rights of IT employees, we call upon all IT employees to organize themselves as a Union under NDLF – IT Employees Wing.
IT/ITES industry employs more than 30 lakh employees now. For the past 30 years of its existence, the corporate of this sector denied all basic and democratic rights to employees resorting to illegal hire & fire practices, denial of right to form trade union, discriminatory rating systems, irregular working hours, and so on. This had major impact on the health and well being of IT employees, leading to mental health issues, break down of family life and even suicides.
In January 2015, following the illegal lay off of 25,000 employees by Tata Consultancy Services, NDLF conducted demonstrations and campaigns leading to the formation of IT Employees Wing, which is the first trade union of IT employees in India. Subsequently, NDLF filed a petition with the Labour Department requesting action to prevent such illegal practices by IT companies. As no action as taken on the petition, a PIL was filed at the Madras High Court by NDLF, on which the court issued an order to Tamil Nadu government to decide whether IT industry would be covered under the Industrial Disputes (ID) Act or not.
However, the state government did not take any action on the order. Only after repeated efforts by NDLF the present decision is announced.
- A petition was submitted to the Secretary to Government, Labour and Employment department on 24-03-2015.
- A reminder to the above petition was sent in May 2015. The government refused to budge.
- A petition filed under RTI Act demanding to know the action taken on the petition evoked no response. An appeal also failed to produce any results.
- As the government did not act on the High Court’s order even after 14 months, a contempt petition was filed in Madras High Court which is scheduled to come up for hearing soon.
Only after all this, Tamil Nadu government has come forward to confirm the rights of IT employees. This shows that even to assert the basic rights of employees, it requires sustained and organized efforts by NDLF to move the government machinery into action.
Moreover, the corporate in IT sector have been circulating rumours such as ‘IT employees have no right to form a trade union’, ‘joining an union will lead to job loss’ ‘labour laws are not applicable to IT industry’ and so on. However, they have formed their own “union” NASCOM to collude with each other and lobby for their rights. They behave in utter disregard of the Labour laws. The government turned a blind eye to these illegal practices till NDLF stepped into assert the rights of employees.
Now, the rights of IT employees have been confirmed by Tamil Nadu government in no uncertain terms. We invite IT employees affected by retrenchment or termination to contact us for further legal and administrative action against the companies.
We also call upon all IT employees to join NDLF IT Employees Wing to assert their rights, redress their grievances.