“Unionize to Strengthen Democracy” – Shyam, IT Union President

I am “Shyam Sundar” working in a leading IT company for almost 16 years with a total experience of 20 years in IT. Now I have joined NDLF IT Wing and taken up the responsibility of President of the union.

Shyam Sundar, President, NDLF IT Employees Wing

I am writing this article on behalf of our union. The intention of the article is to make outside world understand objectives of our union.

Before going to our objectives, I want to clarify 2 things about us:

1) Lakhs of Indian software professionals earn their bread and butter from IT industry for several years. Many have reached a better status in life with the help of IT industry.

But we worked day and night for it, and the companies and clients also gained massively from our labour. Now our intention is to create a better working environment in IT sector for all-round benefit.

2) We understand various issues faced by IT companies. We understand that topline is not expanding as several years before. We know that Indian IT companies are heavily people dependant and have created a pyramid structure.

In this model, to add more freshers in the base of the pyramid, people at the top are being squeezed out. This has to be managed better and transformed into a more sustainable and employee friendly model.

So what are our objectives for the union? As of now, we have 3 main objectives which we want to highlight:

Objective I : Make companies plan for employees’ career in fair and legal way.

  1. IT companies should carry out recruitment of employees with proper plan based on business needs.
  2. Companies should understand that employees are the life blood any company and if curse comes from the bottom of their heart due to forceful terminations, it has very bad effect on the morale of everyone in the company.
  3. Should revisit hikes across various positions and should have clear salary bucket for each role.
  4. Companies should put themselves in employee shoes and look at this matter:
    If a person is blind from childhood, it will not be painful. If person becomes blind after he looks around the world for several years, it is much more painful. This applies to IT employees who get terminated. Losing a job will be real shock for employee and it leads to extreme situations like employee suicide and companies should think social impact before taking decisions.
  5. In case, they need to release many employees due to business reasons, they should follow legal procedure.

Companies should understand that these employees spent heart and soul for the betterment of the companies for several years and should be valued as such.

Objective II : Create awareness among IT employees about labour laws

  1. NASCOM and all IT companies are explicitly telling that there are no layoffs in any of the companies. This clearly means companies are not terminating anyone, but only asking employees to resign.
  2. Various audio tapes leaked on HR conversation with employees show that in all scenarios, employee only is asked to put papers.
  3. As per law, if company has to terminate, they need to have records on compliance issues created.
    Company has to issue sufficient warnings and give time for employees to correct before going for termination. Employees have legal right to challenge termination in courts. This lead to a lot of bottlenecks for employers and that’s the reason employer is asking employee to resign.
  4. If more employees resist, companies don’t have any option other than going as per our objective 1 – doing better planning on employment.

Objective III : “Join Trade Union” campaign among IT employees.

  1. Employees should understand that in the current structure of IT companies there is pressure on anyone if they gain more than 10 years of experience. If people find it difficult to understand pyramid structure, compare it to the game of  musical chair. As we grow more experience, more and more chairs are taken out. So this model has to be transformed into a more sustainable and employee friendly model through trade union activities.
  2. Trade union is legal and Tamil Nadu government has clearly articulated that IT employees can form trade unions. Joining trade union is a fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution for all workers and hence also of any employee in IT industry.
  3. The following are the advantage of forming trade unions:
    a. We can go for collective bargaining on many issues including the ones described above.
    We get to meet more employees of similar issues. You get counsel for your issues from your peers having same problem. This helps a lot to reduce stress and prevent extreme decisions by individuals.
    We get legal support as and when required.
  4. People with lesser experience should join unions. In the current scenario companies rely a lot on junior employees and if more junior employees join trade unions, they cannot to stop the growth of trade union.
  5. By joining together as Employees Union, we can not only safeguard the rights of IT Employees, but also play a proactive role in fostering true democracy for all people in our country. For example, this month we are conducting a campaign among IT employees about agriculture crisis and the need to save farmers’ livelihoods.

I did not have any experience working with trade unions nor had any plan to join a union till before 2 months. Need forced many of us to search and find out about NDLF IT Employees Wing.

We fully understand the risks of taking up the lead. We feel it is a good beginning. The seed for trade union in IT sector put on the soil 2 years back by NDLF should be grown into a tree by our joint efforts.

People in different projects join as a group. Send mail to us for joining the union.

Getting first set of people is difficult. Now we have started, as numbers grow nobody can stop our journey together.

Shyam Sundar,
NDLF IT Employees Wing.

Permanent link to this article: http://new-democrats.com/unionize-to-strengthen-democracy-shyam-it-union-president/

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