1. Tamil Nadu: IT firm employees free to form trade unions

Tamil Nadu: IT firm employees free to form trade unions

In Tamil Nadu, IT company employees also free to form trade unions and can redress their grievances.

By: | Chennai | Updated: June 9, 2016 11:55 AM
Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu IT employees, TN IT employees, TN labour legislation

In Tamil Nadu, it’s good news for IT employees! They will now be allowed to form unions. (Reuters)

In a development that would have far-reaching consequences in Tamil Nadu’s information technology (IT) sector, the state government has made it clear that the labour legislations are applicable to all the IT and ITeS companies and that the IT firm employees are free to form a trade union.

The government has also pointed out the fact that the IT industry has not been exempted from the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The categorical clarification came from Kumar Jayant, principal secretary in the labour and employment department, Tamil Nadu, while responding to a petition by New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF), which sought action from the government on the vexed issue of ‘labour freedom’ in the IT companies.

“All the labour welfare legislations are applicable to all the IT and ITeS companies and they are being monitored by the enforcement officials for proper implementation of labour legislations and thereby ensures the welfare of the employees,” he said in a letter of May 30, 2016, addressed to Karpagavinayagam, organiser of NDLF.

Putting at rest the widely rumoured belief that IT employees are not allowed to form union, the principal secretary, said: “The IT company employees also are free to form trade unions and can redress their grievances through evoking the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act 1947.”

With the new clarification in place, the affected employees can approach the conciliation officers to redress their problems regarding retrenchment or termination or for any other grievance. “In case of any contravention of the provisions of the Act, IT employee may approach the concerned conciliation officer through their union and file an industrial dispute against the erring employer,” said the principal secretary. Detailing the steps being taken by the government, he said the inspectors of labour department are inspecting the IT companies on a routine basis.

In January 2015, following the illegal laying off of 25,000 employees by Tata Consultancy Services, NDLF stepped into action, conducted demonstrations and campaigns leading to the formation of an IT Employees Wing, which is touted to be the first trade union of IT employees in India.

Subsequently, NDLF filed a petition with the labour department requesting action to prevent such illegal practices by IT companies. As no action had been taken on the petition, a PIL was filed in the Madras High Court by NDLF, on which the court issued an order to the Tamil Nadu government to decide whether the IT industry would be covered under the Industrial Disputes (ID) Act or not. As the government did not act on the high court’s order even after 14 months, a contempt petition was filed in the Madras High Court which is scheduled to come up for hearing soon.

“Only after all this, the Tamil Nadu government has come forward to confirm the rights of IT employees. This shows that even to assert the basic rights of employees, it requires sustained and organised efforts by NDLF to move the government machinery into action,” NDLF said in a statement while calling upon the IT employees to organise themselves as a union under NDLF.

NDLF alleged that for the past 30 years or so, the corporates who run the IT industry have denied all basic and democratic rights to employees. They allegedly resorted to illegal hiring and firing practices, denied right to form trade union, adopted discriminatory rating systems and forced irregular working hours, among other things.

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  1. A
    Ajay Jha
    Jun 9, 2016 at 7:43 am
    All states must follow TN ,So many great business going along with Unions
    1. A
      Jun 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm
      TN good Initiation... All States should follow...
      1. S
        Jun 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm
        it is a right action . the it industry is behaving like a tyrant . there is no set of rules for promotion . nepotism and favoritism play important role. they throw away employees without igning any reason and without any inquiry . the employees are not being given any opportunity to defend them IT is also an industry and so labour laws should apply to them also . all states should follow this. otherwise the IT industry will threaten to shift their location to some other state
        1. K
          Jun 9, 2016 at 4:15 am
          The tamilnadu govt is going to kill the IT industry in TN with this move.In an industry where attrition rate is above 15%, there is no loyalty or commitment from the employee, in which case unions are not needed.All the IT companies will stop long term plans in the state and plan movement to other states.
          1. M
            Jun 9, 2016 at 5:40 am
            This is a good move.Trade unions are not meant to s companies unless the issues are politicized.It will help IT employees to fight against odds in It industry
            1. A
              Jun 9, 2016 at 5:30 am
              yeah i suppose you have not faced any harment by your employer. I too had the same thought till 2 months before.
              1. M
                M.RAVI SHANKAR
                Sep 10, 2016 at 3:42 pm
                The move by the State Govt of Tamilnadu is good and justified for the reason that the IT company whatever in size [ Big or Small - Indian Owned or Foreign Based ] they knowingly violate the basic Industrial Law, Labour Law and Human rights Law in terms of working hours, Leave rules, Holiday rules and other statutory welfare rules prevailing In India. They erroneously think that they can threaten to move out to other state whereby they can make the It employee jobless or make the unemplo engineers to remain jobless. the said notion by the IT Employer has to be eradicated and there has to be reasonable welfare for the Engineering youth as they work under tress for 12 hours and even for more hours with out any compensatory off or monetary compensation. If it is not being questioned because the IT youth think that they would be shown the door o hared. This can be stopped and the fear can be removed by forming union and ociations which permitted under law and Tamilnadu Government's Announcement. The threat of moving out to elsewhere by the IT employer can not be done so easily and the Government and strongly Formed IT employee union can always intervene such illegal threat and even stop such move or claim lumpsum compensation from such IT employer. Above all the State Government can stop such threatening ATUDE of IT employer and stop the said steps as the state Government use to give Liberal concessions such as land tax, EB supply, Land Allotment at concessional rate and tax Liberalization on Various count to IT -Company . Hence the Government will not be a silent spectator to such illegal threat by the IT Employer. Even if they do so the Government can intervene ask to give compensation to the IT Employee for their sudden retrenchment or JOB deprivation which is against the fundamental rights and principle of Natural Justice. Hence forming very strong ociation by the IT employee is the need of Hour to safe guard their legitimate rights. The Young engineers should not afraid of such threat by the IT Employers. Because with out the employee the employer can not earn and survive with lavish life and earn colossal amount of profit. Even the uniformed policemen are trying and fighting to form OCIATION. Jai Hind,M.Ravi Shankar Advocate - High Court 98430 65011
                1. Samskar Ebyaha
                  Jun 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm
                  Its all great to celebrate this but the only practical effect of this will be that IT companies will not want to come to TN.
                  1. S
                    Sanskriti Sidana
                    Jun 14, 2016 at 4:54 am
                    Is the clarification available on any online public portal?
                    1. S
                      Jun 9, 2016 at 4:59 am
                      Do you think people need to work as slaves? These companies doesn't have many policy (said by managers) in papers in a transparent manner. They also play with students like giving offer lettters but doesnt provide jobs for a years or so... Check the last few days of L&T info tech, Flipkart etc.. so how does employee has his rights for? In abroad also there are IT industry where the government has control and labour policy under which it is covered. so i support TN's move...
                      1. S
                        Jun 9, 2016 at 5:47 am
                        This seems to be a really bad idea. Instead of giving money to the Unions who will rake in countless rupees, if an employee is to be laid, that employee should be given a severance pay of up to 6 months to find another job. This will almost certainly move the jobs from one state to the another or out of the country similar to manufacturing. Also nowadays most mundane jobs (manufacturing and IT) are being replaced by Robots (even in China) on a mive scale. Is India planning on going back to the dark ages (1990's) when due to its policies had to literally mortgage its gold deposits to keep the country's currency afloat. Another West Bengal in the making which has crippled and driven out most of its Industry thanks to Unions.
                        1. R
                          Jun 9, 2016 at 6:13 am
                          This is a welcome move by the state and beneficial for the employees to protect them from the fraudulent practices of big corporates. Anytime the stock market results are bad these so called IT giants just throw out hundreds of employees by giving performance appraisals as a reason, infact its just a reason to improve their quarterly results. Each year they recruit 20 to 30 thousand fresh graduates. What happens after 7-8 years? 0 % hike, forced resignations or transfer, BENCH and performance appraisals where some one who has never worked with them will upload some review in the system and kick them out in one day. IT companies only want to show profit and they need freshers who are paid less. Its time some one showed the guts to change the situation and fight this injustice.
                          1. D
                            Dinesh Kumar
                            Jun 9, 2016 at 2:28 pm
                            It should be replicated all over India...
                            1. குமார்
                              Jun 17, 2016 at 10:30 am
                              IT Industry is already in self destruction mode in India, due to incapable corporate IT giants to cater their employees need. In Chennai, an Auto driver earns more than a IT employee these days, and IT is no more golden duck, it's rather olden duck. Loyalty should not only be from employee to employer, it should be vice-versa also; which is missing with all IT corporate in India, one of them will be you (it seems)
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