Statement by Maharashtra Committee of Lok Raj Sangathan and Kamgar Ekta Committee, 5 June 2017
In recent months thousands of IT workers from large IT companies have been fired. More than 20,000 workers from large IT companies like Cognizant Technologies, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, and Capgemini have been put on notice and could be fired any time. It is feared that the drive to reduce costs through automation and artificial intelligence will lead to the loss of more than 2 lakh jobs in the coming years.
Any person who earns her/his livelihood by selling her/his labour power, whether physical or mental, highly skilled or not-so-skilled, whether called ‘consultant’ or ‘manager’, is a worker. But people working in the IT sector have been denied the rights they are entitled to as workers. They are told that the various laws of the land related to workers do not apply to them. All their attempts to unionize to fight for their rights have been opposed tooth and nail by IT companies. There is no job security. There is no limit on working hours. There is no compensation for extra hours of work. Putting workers on the bench and later asking them to go, without any compensation, is a common practice.
Whenever profit margins of IT companies are under threat, workers are asked to go. When similar large scale lay-offs were carried out a few years back by the TCS, Lok Raj Sangathan brought out the enclosed booklet highlighting the problems of workers in this sector. Their conditions have only become worse since then.
However this time, IT workers have refused to take it lying down. In several places like Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore, and Pune they have formed Associations and have challenged the action of Companies. This heroic opposition has already put a lot of pressure on these companies. We, from Lok Raj Sangathan and Kamgar Ekta Committee fully support the struggle of IT workers in the defense of their livelihood. We fully support their right to unionize to fight for their rights. We believe they should be entitled to the same rights as workers in other sectors have. We call upon all democratic minded people and all working people to stand firmly behind the IT workers!
Lok Raj Sangathan, Kamgar Ekta Committee: Air India Service Engineers’ Association, All India Bank Employees’ Association, All India Guards’ Council, All India Loco Running Staff Association, All India Station Masters Association, Ladaku Garment Mazdoor Sangh, Mumbai Municipal Mazdoor Union, Western Railway Motormen’s Association.