IT companies shut in Pune, PCMC; firms look at work from home strategies to facilitate functioning of essential servicesUpdated: Mar 24, 2020 19:18 IST
The IT companies in Pune are shutting offices and providing methods of working from home as their work contributes to keeping essential services like banking, pharmaceutical industry, logistics, among other things working. While some have already called for work from home, others are in the process of starting it.
However, members of FITE, a worker union of IT employees, and NITE, a trade union of IT employees, have both claimed that some companies have been asking their employees to come to work even in the light of the shutdown of all private organisations announced by Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister of Maharashtra. The labour commissioner of Maharashtra, Mahendra Kalyankar, has urged companies to not give a pay-cut to employees in the 10 days of shutdown. On Thursday, the Pune police had received complaints from EON IT Park in Kharadi where offices had asked employees to come to work while ignoring the Maharashtra government and Pune district collector’s orders to shut down. “We have spoken to them. We had received a complaint (on Thursday), but it was dealt with swiftly. We have asked them to remain shut for the next 10 days,” said Ashok Morale, additional commissioner of Pune police.
Some IT services, however, are essential to the smooth functioning of services like banking, and pharmaceutical industry, according to a statement issued by the Chairman of National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM). “We know that if the entire industry (across countries) shuts down overnight, what the globe determines as ‘essential services’ will come to a standstill. You know that the industry serves banks, utilities, retailers, airlines, shipping companies / freights and containers, healthcare and pharma organisations, insurance companies and so on. Being such a backbone for the entire globe, it is rather impossible to come to a grinding halt,” said Keshav Murugesh, chairman of NASSCOM and Group CEO of WNS.
A manager from a BPO office located in Magarpatta, Rekha Vasudha, said, “Starting today, a leave of 10 days has been announced for our office and the neighbouring offices as well. The lockdown was announced so quickly, there was no time.” When asked about whether they were informed about its possible effect on their payment, Vasudha said there was no information regarding that.
Another employee from a domestic IT company located in Mantri Park, Wagholi, confirmed that they had been working from home for the past five days.
Speaking about the initiatives undertaken by WNS, he said, “We (WNS) have rationalised work from home, across locations, and are implementing work in a phased manner. Depending on the nature of work, there are security protocols involved for the clients and we are empowering our employees to ‘actually take work home’.”
A Cognizant spokesperson said the company was providing service to healthcare, insurance and life sciences clients, besides clients in banking, manufacturing, logistics, education and other sectors that were facing unprecedented challenges. It was complying with government directives in Pune and had enabled a vast number of employees to work remotely– with the exception of those required to be at secure facilities. For these essential employees, “we have added on-site medical professionals, increased the number of hand sanitizers, and enhanced our facility cleaning frequency and processes, particularly in high-touch areas,” the spokesperson said.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad as well as Pune police have been scouring their jurisdiction to shut shops and other facilities of non-essential goods on Thursday and Friday. The checks, in light of CM’s announcement, are continuing on Saturday as well.