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IT job loss: Trade unions to meet to chalk out strategy

50% of India’s IT work force will be “irrelevant” in next 3 to 4 years, says consultancy firm McKinsey & Company in its latest report

india Updated: May 16, 2017 14:36 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Members of All India Trade Union Congress take part in a rally in Hyderabad.
Members of All India Trade Union Congress take part in a rally in Hyderabad. (PTI File Photo )

Central trade unions will meet this month to chalk out a strategy as prospect of large-scale job cuts looms on India’s information technology sector.

Consultancy firm McKinsey & Company said in its latest report that 50% of India’s IT work force will be “irrelevant” in next 3 to 4 years.

The unions want to fish in troubled waters. They are desperate to open accounts in the sector that has so far been a no-go zone for union activities.

They expect the proposed massive job cuts may lay the ground for their entry in the sector. “IT sector is an important gateway to reach out to a large section of urban youth,” said a Left leader.

“The Central trade unions will meet on May 30 to discuss the IT job scene and other issues,” said Sanjeeva Reddy, president of the Congress-backed INTUC.

While they want their noises heard and presence felt as thousands of people are expected to lose jobs in the IT sector, the unions are also afraid to take the leap of faith.

The reason: so far, IT employees have not come forward to join unions.

“We failed to find support in IT industry. Trade unions can only be formed when people want it. We can’t set up unions and then ask people to come,” said AK Padmanabhan, president of the CPI(M) affiliated CITU.

Union leaders claim that many IT employees in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata are frantically calling them amid fear of retrenchment. “We are advising them to at least form their own association. To negotiate collectively with employers,” said Padmanabhan.

BJP’s trade union arm maintains a distance from the Left and Congress. BN Rai, president of the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) says that some of the proposed changes in the labour laws will help IT employees.

“The proposed industrial relation code says no one can be punished to form union. This will help IT employees as they had been sacked earlier for trying to do so,” says Rai.