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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Should IT companies allow trade unions? - SiliconIndia

Hyderabad: Nearly 2.3 million employees in IT and ITES sector in the country are badly in need of unions, shows the distress of techies. According to techies, though the sector is one of the largest employers, but the freedom to express problems within organizations is mostly curbed and it can also cause danger to their jobs.

According to Express Buzz, techies are citing examples of losing jobs and facing troubles. In October, 2005, when 57-year-old J S R Prasad volunteered to spearhead the trade union activities, his working conditions were 'altered,' forcing him to quit. In another case in 2007, when another techie, Sam Jose applied for one year leave to pursue further education, his employer gave necessary approvals, but axed him citing poor performance without his knowledge

"Employers want power neutralization and strongly oppose unions. Agreed, they offer favorable working environment, but that's not enough. Several issues, be it promotion or differential treatment by co-workers on caste and community basis can occur. Who will employees turn to when in need?" questions, Karthik Shekhar, General Secretary, UNITES, trade union representing IT & ITES sector in Hyderabad. He added that, employees prefer to live with the prevailing conditions or move out in search of other jobs instead of fighting for their own cause.

"Working hours is being stretched and work pressure is going up. It's high time we have a platform that can fight for our rights and give some relief," said a team leader working for one of the big four IT giants in the country.

"Companies don't want to talk anything negative. Periodically, they talk about innovative HR practices, but have they ever publicised 10 or 100 top most concerns faced by employees? The hype and fanfare attached to the so-called big brands, sometimes seems inflated." But employers seem averse to the very idea of unions.

"We interact with employees across all levels. I dont see the need for a union. Anyone can contact the CEO directly," said HR head of a city-based IT services company.

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