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IT employees get nod to set up trade union in Karnataka

Source | : By Nilesh Christopher

BENGALURU:Trade unions trying to mobilise technology employees grappling with drastic changes confronting India’s IT industry have made their first breakthrough.

The labour commission of Karnataka, home to the country’s largest tech hub in Bengaluru, has certified the formation of the Karnataka State IT/ITES Employees Union (KITU) under the Trade Union Act, 1926, and Karnataka Trade Unions Regulations, 1958.

“This is a significant moment for us, being the first dedicated IT employee union,” said Vineeth Vakil, general secretary of KITU, which presently has about 250 members. “The formation of the union was possible because there were enough number of IT employees facing (various) issues. We will be able to address these issues with vigour with the formation of an IT union.”

Bengaluru alone has about 1.5 million employees in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors, out of nearly 4 million employees across the country.

Over the past year, a growing number of aggrieved IT employees have been turning to the courts seeking redressal of grievances such as indiscriminate layoffs and long working hours. Automation and protectionist measures adopted by key markets including the United States are badgering India’s $150-billion IT industry, forcing large-scale layoffs, smaller increments and other pullbacks.

In June, India’s IT industry body Nasscom forecast that growth in the sector’s export revenue would remain mostly unchanged at 7-8% in fiscal year 2017-18 because of troubles in its largest market, the United States. This month, however, Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told PTI that the industry could see an upturn next year as investments in technology, particularly in the US, had started gathering momentum. Thus far, aggrieved employees have been approaching pressure groups such as the Forum for IT Employees (FITE), the National Democratic Labour Front-IT (NDLF-IT) and the Union for IT/ITES (UNITES) for help in waging legal battles.

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