IT employees forum demands tribunal for knowledge workers

women employee

(Chennai, Feb 6) The Forum for IT Employees (FITE) Friday demanded the government to set up a tribunal for knowledge-based industries and also review the exemptions provided to them from labour laws.

Releasing the report of a fact-finding committee on the alleged layoffs by software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the FITE also urged state governments to intervene quickly to safeguard the interests of employees of TCS and also there is an imminent risk of other companies resorting to large scale retrenchments.

FITE is a recently-formed organisation to fight for the rights of employees in the information technology (IT), call centres and other such organisations.

“We recommend a permanent tribunal for knowledge-based industries including IT, ITES, BPO call centres etc. They must also review the exemptions provided to the IT industry from certain labour laws with a view to protecting the legitimate interests of employees in this important sector,” the four member committee recommended in their report.

According to the committee, the labour laws adequately do not represent the changing realities of labour arrangement in knowledge-based industries.

Citing the fears expressed by employees in the IT sector about the skill registry maintained by software industry lobby body NASSCOM, the committee recommended that the governments must examine the violations of privacy of IT employees.

With regard to TCS, the committee urged the company to review the decision to undertake large-scale retrenchment of middle-level employees.

“If, indeed, there is a case for restructuring of the staff pattern, the company must do it in a transparent manner, taking the staff into confidence. In particular, it must remove the ambiguities in the performance appraisal process and make it fair by putting it on a scientific basis,” the reports states.

The employees must be provided reasonable opportunities to make representations against any perceived injustice in their appraisal, the committee said.

The state, which has a responsibility with regard to employment and labour welfare, must not remain a silent spectator in face of large-scale unjust retrenchment in a major industry, it said.