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'IT workers should decide on union'

Alleging "gross violation" of workers' rights, the CITU says, that IT employees of IT should be given a free hand to decide on formation of unions.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 16:56 IST

Alleging "gross violation" of workers' rights, the Centre for Indian Trade Unions said on Friday thatthe employees of IT and other sunrise sectors should be given a free hand to decide on formation of unions to exercise their fundamental rights as laid down by the ILO.

"Our stand on the issue is clear. The workers of the IT and other sunrise sectors, where gross violation of labour laws are rampant, should have a free hand in deciding whether they want formation of unions or not," CITU General Secretary Chittabrata Majumdar said.

Alleging that the "picture in the IT sector is not as rosy as it looks", Majumdar said, "we want these new sectors to be brought under at least some guidelines to stop coercive ways used to earn super-profits."

Asked if the Left Front government in West Bengal would allow formation of unions in the burgeoning IT sector here, the CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP said, "the state's stand is similar to ours."

But, "not all state governments have the same stand," he added.

Majumdar, speaking at a workshop on employer-employee relationship organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, said besides IT, new units coming up in automobiles or garments sectors were also denying the basic rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining as laid down by the ILO.

Charting out the violations in the IT sector, he said these included recruitments through agencies, 12-hour work schedule, contract job and signing of bonds for not engaging in union activities.

Claiming that those under contract in the IT sector could also exercise the freedom of association as per the Convention 151 of the ILO, Majumdar said violations of labour laws were rampant in the sector all across the country, including West Bengal.

He also challenged the image of the IT sector as a high pay-master, saying "only a few companies and few employees are highly paid. But generally, the workers, particularly the freshers, don't get payments commensurate with their B Tech or engineering qualifications."

The CITU leader said such "coercive ways" to earn super-profits could neither pave the way for a good industrial relations nor hold good in the long run and therefore the companies should follow some guidelines in the interest of sustaining their operations.

Speaking on the occasion, ICC president Umang Kanoria said, "While we firmly believe that employees' interests must be taken care of in all respects under the law, it is also important to ensure that a sector like IT, which is different from many manufacturing sectors and which has a tremedous potential in West Bengal, is allowed to grow exponentially in the state and India.

"Therefore, we must tread carefully so that we do not stifle a growing sector," he added.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 16:51 IST