The Eranakulam district collector on Monday sought an explanation from three IT companies and two BPO firms of the government-owned Infopark after they directed their employees to work on Independence Day.
The collector acted following complaints by some workers that they were told to report for work on Tuesday. After the collector's intervention, however, two of these companies declared a holiday and two agreed to work with a skeletal staff.
"No firm can insist employees to work on I-Day. It is a punishable offence. So I sought an explanation from these companies," collector APM Mohammed Hanish told the Hindustan Times.
But the matter doesn't stop at that. The BPO resented the "unnecessary interference". "We cater to overseas clients. If we are forced on such issues, we will lose our clients, putting a question mark on the thriving out-sourcing industry," the HRD manager of one of these companies said.
The president of the Group of Technopark Companies in Thiruvananthapuram, Sunil Gupta, said IT and IT-enabled services sector caters to a global clientele that does not take into account country-specific holidays. Servers need to be running with staff manning them all the time.
The IT sector has not been brought under the Essential Services Act. This is the first time that someone in Kerala has brought up the issue of the employees' right to take a day off on a national holiday.