The authors wish to express their gratitude to Prof. Pranabesh Ray of XLRI, Jamshedpur for giving them the opportunity to do this project which is of tremendous significance in today’s industrial relations climate.
The authors also wish to thank Prof. E. M Rao and Prof. P.K Padhi of XLRI Jamshedpur whose valuable inputs on the legal aspects of this issue provided us with a sense of direction during the course of this project. We are also thankful to all the union leaders, IT employees and managers from various organizations who interacted with us and gave us valuable inputs.
The IT/ITES sector is one of the fastest growing segments of the Indian economy. While high salaries and the tech-savvy lifestyle of the IT workers does create a rosy picture, the ground realities are very different. The high stress levels among employees, long working hours and the lack of proper regulatory oversight are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the numerous problems that confront the IT sector. Exploitation of employees in the name of globalization and increased competition is rampant – this is one of the major reasons for the need of a trade union in the IT sector being acutely felt. There have been attempts at collectivization in this industry but due to the low acceptance of the idea, the reach of these unions have been limited. This report analyses the current climate of the IT industry in the context of collectivization and attempts to arrive at some suggestions which can help a Trade Union leader in raising union consciousness among the IT workers.
Features of the Indian IT Industry – How long will the party last?!7 Problems Faced by IT Workers10
Labour Laws and the IT Industry13
Unions in IT – What must they cater to?15
Unions in IT and the Skilled Sector Abroad16
Worker Representation Forums for the IT Industry18
Challenges faced by a Trade Union leader19
Guidelines to a Trade Union leader for IT Unions20
The rise of the IT industry in India cannot be understood in isolation but in the larger context of the politico-economic changes of globalization and liberalization. The transformative effect of the arrival and diffusion of microelectronic devices and the rapid growth in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) enabled India to be on the cutting-edge of this phenomenon.
Note: Throughout this report, the phrase “IT industry” and “IT worker” will be used to refer to the IT/ITES sector and the employees in the IT/ITES sector respectively
The buzz-words of “knowledge economy” and “knowledge worker” have been used and overused in the last decade. According to a study by the World Bank :
“India has many of the key ingredients for making this transition. It has a critical mass of skilled, English-speaking knowledge workers, especially in the sciences. It has a well-functioning democracy. Its domestic market is one of the world’s largest. It has a large and impressive diaspora, creating valuable knowledge linkages and networks. The list goes on: macroeconomic stability, a dynamic private sector, institutions of a free market economy, a well-developed financial sector, and a broad and diversified science and technology (S&T) infrastructure. In addition, the development of the ICT sector in recent years has been remarkable. India has created profitable niches in information technology (IT) and is becoming a global provider of software services. Building on these strengths, India can harness the benefits of the knowledge revolution to improve its economic performance and boost the welfare of its people”.
But this is just one side of the story – is all really hunky-dory in the knowledge economy for...