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- Statement : NDLF demands immediate government intervention in IT Layoffs Issue
- Press Release : NDLF to File Grievance Petition with Labour Department on Layoff Issue
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As you are aware of, NDLF IT Employees Wing has been campaigning against forced resignations in Cognizant and Wipro. We have received 100s of complaints from CTS, Wipro employees through Phone Calls, Emails, Comments and submissions on the website.
Along with 10 IT employees we met the Tamil Nadu Labour Secretary and submitted a representation on May 16, 2017. We joined a meeting called by Joint Commissioner of Labour (JCL), Chennai on May 17, 2017 where 6 Cognizant employees, a representative of NASSCOM and 5-6 representatives from Cognizant management took part.
We summarize the learnings from these two discussions in the form of Q&A.
In the meeting with JCL NASSCOM and Cognizant representatives said that all talk about forced resignations are heresay (no proof) and there are no retrenchments, no layoffs or terminations in their company.
6 affected Cognizant employees and 4 Wipro employees have met the Labour Secretary and/or Joint Commissioner of Labour. They spoke about their specific experience with forced resignations. Print outs of email testimonies from about 30 employees were submitted as reference.
2. Are labour laws applicable to IT sector? How does the labour department advise employees?
Labour Secretary as well as JCL made it clear that Industrial Disputes Act 1947 is very much applicable to IT sector and no one need to have any doubts regarding that.
They asked the affected employees to file grievance with labour department.
Section 2A – an individual employee can file a grievance under section 2A of Industrial Dispute Act about denial of employment
“Where any employer discharges, dismisses, retrenches, or otherwise terminates the services of an individual workman, any dispute or difference between that workman and his employer connected with, or arising out of, such discharge, dismissal, retrenchment or termination shall be deemed to be an industrial dispute notwithstanding that no other workman nor any union of workmen is a party to the dispute”
This will come into force only AFTER the employee lost their job.
4. What about complaints about rating given, not getting project allocation or being forced by HR to resign?
Section 2K – Collective Dispute
“Means any dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of labour, of any person.”
JCL in Chennai asked the employees who disagree with the low rating given to them, who were not allocated to a project, whose were prevented from getting allocated to a project, who were being asked by HR to resign (but not yet resigned) or similar complaints to file a Collective Dispute under Section 2K.
A collective dispute is filed by a trade union on behalf of a group of employees.
NDLF is a registered trade union in Tamil Nadu and we are planning to file a collective dispute under section 2K on behalf of our members from Cognizant and Wipro who
a. disagree with low rating given to them
b. were released from project without reason
c. could not be allocated a project due to system block
d. who were asked by HR to resign
as well as
e. were forced to resign and already resigned.
6. Can company retaliate against the employee for filing grievance?
There is legal protection against that under section 33 (1) of ID Act – Conditions of service, etc., to remain unchanged under certain circumstances during pendency of proceedings
(1) During the pendency of any conciliation proceeding before a conciliation officer or a Board or of any proceeding before 2 an arbitrator or] a Labour Court or Tribunal or National Tribunal in respect of an industrial dispute, no employer shall–
(a) in regard to any matter connected with the dispute, alter, to the prejudice of the workmen concerned in such dispute, the conditions of service applicable to them immediately before the commencement of such proceeding; or
(b) for any misconduct connected with the dispute, discharge or punish, whether by dismissal or otherwise, any workmen concerned in such dispute, save with the express permission in writing of the authority before which the proceeding is pending.
7. What is the next step?
All affected employees (a,b,c,d,e in point 9) get together and we finalize grievance filing under section 2K. We invite affected Wipro and Cognizant employees as well as all other employees to come to the Union meeting on May 20, 2017 at 4 pm at Thiruvanmiyur. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 90031 98576 to know more details about the meeting.
In the meeting, we will finalize 2K filing in consultation with Trade Union veterans and labour law experts.