/Unions fast gaining traction in Bengaluru's IT sector

Unions fast gaining traction in Bengaluru's IT sector

BENGALURU: With hundreds of layoffs taking place this year in Bengaluru, information technology (IT) employees’ unions from across the country are gaining traction in the IT-BT capital.

Karnataka has exempted the IT-BT sector from standing orders of the labour department, which is said to have weakened any organisational structure for IT employees in the state, according to the unions that are functioning predominantly in Chennai.

The Tamil Nadu government legalised and allowed the formation of IT unions in the state in 2016, covering the IT sector under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. On May 1, Labour Day, the IT-BT minister Priyank Kharge had said that the government was open to labour unions that are ready to work for the welfare of techies in Bengaluru and Karnataka.

When contacted, Kharge said as many as three groups claiming to be representatives of IT employees have already approached him seeking discussions on the recent layoffs and other issues. “The government has to ascertain the veracity of these groups and whether they are in fact representatives of IT employees,” said Kharge.

Meanwhile, an organisation called Forum for IT employees (FITE) is already seeking government intervention in what it calls “illegal layoffs” by major information technology companies.

“We are trying to organise the IT employees in the city and expect a sizeable number of them to join us. We have also sought an appointment with the IT-BT minister to discuss the matter,” said R Balaji, vicepresident for FITE, which is based in Chennai.

Another group called the New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF) has also begun preparing the ground work for the purpose of organising the IT employees in the state.

“We are in touch with as many as 35 to 40 IT employees in Bengaluru and are trying to increase our strength in the city,” said S Kumar, member of the NDLF-IT wing. A third group called All India IT Employees Association is also seeking a meeting with the government.

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