US tech groups call for boycotting Infosys, and other companies

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2014 02:38 IST

Tech advocacy groups in the US have announced a labour boycott of Infosys and two other companies to force them to hire more locally. The other two companies being boycotted are IBM and Manpower.

The groups have accused the companies of “citizenship discrimination” by advertising tech jobs abroad, without giving locals a chance, as is required under US federal law.

"That’s wrong, plain wrong," said Donna Conroy of Bright Future Jobs, one of the three advocacy groups, pointing to recent filing of applications for H1-B visas.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/6/05_06_14-metro15.gif

Hidden Abroad, a report she has authored, referenced four Help Wanted ads posted on an Indian jobs site seven months ago by Manpower that excluded qualified US professionals.

Manpower did not respond to a request for comments.

“It is incorrect to allude that we exclude or discourage US workers,” Infosys said. “We are recruiting for over 440 active openings across 20 states in the US.”

The other two groups spearheading this boycott are the Programmers’ Guild and Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, better known by its shorter name Washtech.

“Our boycott will end when we see want ads on US job portals advertising for a job 12- to 18 months in the future,” Conroy told Hindustan Times in an email.

Depending on its effectiveness, the boycott could potentially add to a list of trade and business differences between India and the US, that has been growing lately.

Here is how the boycott is intended to work: the advocacy groups will urge employed American tech professionals to not respond to job pitches from these companies.

“They (the three companies) are not job creators,” argued Conroy. They draw from an existing pool of professionals and if denied, they will lose their ability to deliver.

That will hurt their reputation, which is the key to their business. But do the advocacy groups seriously hope to force companies to hire more locally, when they can get cheaper hands from abroad — specially India —and the difference is huge.

“It doesn’t matter if they are cheaper or purpler,” said Conroy. It’s the law of the land for 50 years — that locals cannot be discriminate against — and it must be upheld.
(With inputs from Vivek Sinha)

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