Anyone out there waiting to attack a woman call centre employee returning from a late shift should have reason for alarm. The women will be ready with pepper sprays and other self-defence techniques.
At a meeting organised by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) delegates from BPO companies in Pune discussed the need for better security for their female employees.
“We have taken the issue of employee safety very seriously and apart from other measures, the company has also approached the city police seeking training for our female employees. Such training, we believe, will help them defend themselves,” said Tushar Pitre, senior manager, KPIT Cummins. Pitre said police response to their request had been positive. “We will soon fix a date with the police for training,” he added.
The move comes on the heels of last year’s incident where a 22-year-old employee of the Wipro call centre was allegedly raped and murdered by the company’s taxi driver.
Satish Kulkarni, head of security at Infosys said they held a workshop in December on the Infosys campus in Pune training women in the use of pepper spray. “About 100 employees, mainly women and security personnel were present,” he said.
The first of its kind in the country, the workshop has caught the fancy of other companies too. “We have already discussed the issue and will soon organise a training camp for our employees on the use of pepper spray. Soon the dates for training will be finalised,” said Hiren Kulkarni, head of Zensar’s BPO unit.
Ganesh Natarajan, Nasscom vice chairman, said: “The Pune chapter of Nasscom has taken a lead in putting together a plan of action, which we want to take up nationally.”
BPO firms in the NCR also plan to train their women employees in self defence. For this, the Business Process Industries Association of India (BPIAI) has decided to 'outsource' the job to a professional security agency. Riti Jarg, vice president of BPIAI said the association would finalise the name of the security agency next week. About 35 per cent of the 1.25 lakh employees working with about 250 BPOs in the NCR are women.