There is no other way than a Union

There is an article yesterday in Hindu Business Line about forming labour unions in IT sector. This article has articulated various negative aspects about having labour unions in Information sector.

To give a short note on this article, our fellow IT union FITE provided certain demands of IT employees to Dravida Munetra Kalagam (DMK) which is the opposition party of Tamilnadu. DMK has included some of the demands of FITE in their election Manifesto. This is the first time in India where a registered political party has given a voice for the demands of IT employees. Hindu business line published an article in continuation to this in yesterday’s edition.

The main points articulated by Hindu business line as part of the article are:

1)      IT Sector has grown exponentially and currently it is a 200 billion industry which is growing at 15-20% per annum. This sector employs 4.5 million people and accounts for 7.5% of the country GDP. This is accomplished without having labour unions in this sector

2)      Demands from labour unions comes mostly from outside the sector. FITE which is pioneer who is trying to organize major IT workforce has only less than 500 registered members

3)      IT employees are well educated. IT sector is people centric. Employees in the IT sector remain cold to the idea of having labor unions

4)      IT Companies deliver large time bound projects for Fortune 500 companies across the world because of the work put in by their employees. They manage 24*7 services which if disrupted could create havoc

5)      Attrition rate in IT companies is 20%. IT companies will drive to keep the employees happy  and provide various benefits like work from home, large scale transportation of employees, flexible work hours

6)      IT companies only weed out 2% non-performers based on appraisal tool. Due to this reason the IT employees are not upskilling their skills and companies are forced to do that only for economic slowdown reasons

So considering all the above factors, their opinion is labour union formation in IT sector is politically motivated and they ask the political parties to leave IT sector alone from formation of labour unions. We did not publish any article about DMK election manifesto as we are particular in avoiding political propaganda in our union. But as these article convey wrong data points, we want to convey our views for various false statement provided as part of article.

We see that the inclusion of demands from IT Employees and that too in the same words of an IT Union (FITE) as a positive move from the polictical parties like DMK. And we feel this is just a start and we are sure before next elections, every party in India will consider/Include our demands in their manifesto and DMK initiated this from their side. We feel this is just a beginning

As mentioned in the article, IT sector has grown exponentially over last 25 years. If anyone want to realize the growth, share of Infosys has grown 10000 times in last 25 years. If promoter invested 1 lakh in Infosys, it has grown to 100 crores in 25 years. This apply to many of the IT companies.

Companies has to invest a lot for factory setup, equipment’s, raw materials for industries in manufacturing sector. But IT sector is service oriented and company asset is only their employee. If we compare the growth rate of the company with employee who contributed for the growth, it cannot be compared at all. Many of the IT companies get lands, uninterrupted electricity, Water at cheaper rates and get tax benefits by running their operation in special economic zone.  But the sad part here is many companies are sending these employees who are responsible for this growth as dead woods as mentioned in the article with name as low performers.

We want to mention a legal case where judgement received this month from Bangalore. We did not want to disclose the company name and affected employee at this point. This employee started her career in the same company and working for 27 years in the same company. This particular employee received discharge letter and terminated with 2 month salary deposited. What is the comment of Hindu business line in this case? If company terminate employee working in same company after 27 years of service, it shows the clear intention of the company which is cost cutting. This company has 20000 employees before 27 years and it has increased multifold at all level but this employee is terminated with reason as low performer. Did Hindu Business Line support this act of the company?

We agree there are lesser registered IT employees in unions like FITE and NDLF. But all these registered employees are affected employees. They are targeted for terminations and then only most of these employees start approaching unions like FITE and NDLF. What is the call on Hindu in this case? These employees should not take any fight and obey management order is what the call Hindu is dictating here

It mentioned that attrition rate in this industry is 20 percent. The same IT companies are recruiting 12th pass out employees for Engineering jobs. Is  there a scarcity for Engineers in our country? There are several lakh Engineers searching for jobs and why companies are recruiting 12th pass out students for Engineering jobs.  Did Hindu analyze the average employee age for this attrition employees? How easy is to get jobs in IT sectors for employees above age group of 40? Companies can recruit 5-7 employee at the same cost of high experience employees and there is high chance, companies will do that and that’s what the current problem in IT Industry and what is the view of Hindu in this regard

Why Hindu is supporting corporates and have written an article with one sided view? Why they did not get the views of labour union in this case?

Hindu gives a perception that political parties and labour unions will spoil growth rate. It gives perception that labour union are problem creators to the readers. But actual fact is many labour unions in other sector played major role in streamlining the relation between corporates and employees. The strike rate has come down after the rise of unions in many sectors and productivity of companies has increased considerably after the formation of unions. Please refer our article in this regard in our website

Protest People


We will consolidate our various queries to Hindu as part of our unions?

1)      Is Hindu saying leading unions like AICTU and political party unions create issue to productivity in their companies and having unions in IT sector will spoil IT Career growth

2)      Why Hindu did not get views from union side? If it publish only the corporate side, it gives perception that this article is written with bad motto of stopping union as per corporate need

3)      Is Hindu saying the move by DMK to include IT employee’s demands in their Election manifesto is wrong?

4)      There are 8000 suicide happened in IT sector as per statistics published by Vikatan and major reason for these suicides are layoff. Is Hindu saying that employee should not form unions and only commit suicides when they are affected by layoffs

5)      From where Hindu got the data point that less than 500 IT employees only registered with various labour unions. Is this data crosschecked and did Hindu has proof to substantiate this point?

Corporates are intentionally spreading venom that unions are not acceptable in IT sector. Their intention is to create wrong perception that hire and fire is valid and they are using media to create this false perception among poor IT employees. We are worried that leading magazines like Hindu are also falling prey with corporate tactics and write articles like this.

But we are sure that this tactics will not succeed. This is evident with legal cases happening across various companies in different states. The companies trying to layoff more and more people will pour oil to increase the popularity of unions and we are confident that corporates cannot stop formation of unions and more political party supporting unions in the future.

  • Shyam Sundar

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