Tamil Nadu government has made it clear that the IT and ITeS companies are bound by the same labour laws that govern other industries and the IT firm employees are free to form a trade union.
Trade unions have seen this act as an acknowledgment of employee rights.
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Replying to a petition filed by Puthiya Jananayaga Thozhilalar Munnani, state labour secretary Kumar Jayant wrote: “IT company employees also are free to form trade unions and redress their grievances through evoking the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947. Any trade union with IT employees as its members can rise industrial disputes under section 2 (k) of the act and seek remedy.”
Any trade union with IT employees as its members can raise industrial disputes under Section 2(k) of the Act and seek remedy. The IT industry comes under Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.
According to an IT industry official, the clarification is unlike to impact the industry. He said unlike factories, IT companies have a different structure, as they have structured salaries and people go for projects abroad as well. “In such an industry, the concept of unions will not work successfully,” he said.
Talking about the absence of trade unionism in the IT companies, former human resource head of Infosys, TV Mohandas Pai, had said
: “If any of these people who have left or have been laid off create trouble for TCS, will anybody else ever hire them. Trade unions are useful when people want “job security” and want to work for a single employer for 25-30 years, and contrasts this with the technology sector: Employees give a 15-day notice, attrition is in double digits – what employee rights are you talking about?”
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Pai said that people in the middle management bracket are paid Rs 40-50 lakh annually so they don’t need labour law support. Only entry-level employees need such support, and even if they are mistreated, they would “rather they will keep quiet and go somewhere else because there are lots of jobs around.”
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Last month, the Madras high court delivered a ruling maintaining that a person working in an Information Technology company can be termed as a “workman”, thus setting aside the dismissal of an employee stating that it was unlawful. Additional Labour Court Presiding Officer S Nambirajan also directed the firm to reinstate the petitioner with continuity of service and to pay full back wages and all other benefits from the date of dismissal to the date of reinstatement.
In another case, prominent trade unions recently rushed to offer their support to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) workers who had lost their jobs.