Declaration adopted at the Seminar on Job Security in IT Sector ITPWA 01-02-2015 IIC, 40 Max Mueller Marg New Delhi
IT&ES has been the destination for a large number of educated youth in the past two decades. The period post 2007 saw a slowing down of the recruitment in this sector. The recent increasing number of retrenchments in the IT sector is of serious concern. In the last one month we saw significant number of retrenchments at TCS which is now followed by IBM, Citrix and more. There is the news of ‘structural transformation’ at HCL aimed at retrenching employees in certain verticals and horizontals. WIPRO has also announced it will reduce its number by 52000 of its work force in three years’ time. Whatever the companies try to term it, whether it is ‘structural transformation’ or ‘workforce optimization’, all are essentially retrenchments, terminations and retrenchments.
The recent retrenchments in the IT sector is of employees with eight or more years of experience. These retrenchments are taking place in a situation while the firms are in profits and making steady progress. On an average, each person associated with this industry has been billed three times more than what they are being paid. It is clear that these companies are resorting to retrenchments in order to maximise their profits and not retrenching employees in any adverse situation or financial difficulty. The professionals have been branded as non-performers, such a stigma attached to them is making it difficult for them to get employment elsewhere and is pushing them in to social isolation. The companies have been discouraging the workforce from changing their skill-sets as it would have an impact in their revenues. At a time when there is a phase shift in technologies, the same workforce is being ruthlessly thrown out. This is a section who might have just taken up the responsibilities of a new family and with a huge burden of home loan, their children’s education, etc. These terminations are unethical, entail instability in employment and livelihoods and blatant violations of existing labour laws. In any civilised society job security should be an essential right of an employee and a just cause.
In the name of SEZ or as ‘essential services’, many industries are exempted from the basic laws. Nearly 62% of Indian exports is from IT/ITeS. Each and every employee had his role shaping $120 billion India IT industry. The companies were given subsidies and incentives, which was not just for a growth in figures but intended in benefiting the population from this growth by providing stable employment.
At a time when the industries or system are turning more and more inhuman, stronger labour laws are required to protect the employees right. It is time to stop justifying the exemptions given to IT industry from essential labour laws when the actions of these companies lead to loss of thousands of employees. This industry, which directly employees around 3 million of the population and indirectly around 10 million, accrues huge profit compared to any other sector and whose revenue solely depends on its employees; hence job security is also a moral and legal obligation. When the nation pays a large price in the form of various incentives to the IT industry, the government should take necessary actions to ensure all essential rights are honoured by the IT companies. We also demand that the governments to intervene appropriately and ensure
- All the affected employees to be reinstated into the services of IT companies.
- Job security in the IT&ES sector to be ensured.
- Labour laws should be strictly implemented in the IT&ES sector.
- Revoke all exemptions to IT companies from labour laws.
- Take steps to establish a proper grievance redressal mechanism for all IT&ES employees.
- Constitute a mechanism including the representatives from the workforce and organisations representing them, to check the menace of unjustified retrenchments and other issues by various IT/ ITeS companies.
- Constitute Internal Complaints Committees for prevention and redressal of sexual harassment in all IT companies immediately. Employee representative to be democratically selected to Internal Complaints Committees.
- Transport and security to be strictly provided to all women employees working during night shifts.
- Government should take necessary actions to curb the fake IT companies.