Often accused of being indifferent to the electoral process, tech workers are blamed for the low voter turnout in Bangalore. Striking a different byte, here’s a group that has decided that politics is not that bad a word, and that there is a need to sensitise politicians too on the issues faced by workers in Bangalore’s large technology sector.

On Saturday, a large group of IT workers met with politicians, heard them out and then participated in an interaction on all things related to their work lives. Organised by the IT and ITeS Employees Centre (ITEC), a welfare and support group for tech workers, the idea behind the political debate was to sensitise both IT workers and politicians. Key issues that were debated include the impact of a financial slowdown on outsourced jobs, issues faced by women in tech companies and the legal framework (or lack of one) that binds companies operating here.

Prabhakar, spokesperson, Janata Dal (S), said given a chance the party would like to take corrective steps to address the slowdown of the IT sector. He said the labour-unfriendly policies of the government must be changed. Vivek Reddy, convener of the BJP Law Cell, emphasised the party’s achievement over the past five years. He said the e-governance budget had doubled this time, and there was a distinct focus on IT.

Labour rights

Focusing on the labour rights of this large workforce, K. Prakash, secretary, CPI(M) Bangalore district committee, said successive governments had exempted this important industry from important labour legislations.

“The government is only bothered about consulting with the trade bodies, and has not shown any concern for the employees. There are several unethical practices such as mass retrenchments, arbitrary actions by HR and even harassment, and there is no one to control this,” he said.

Shankar V., Karnataka in-charge of the CPI(ML) Liberation, pointed out that the recession had affected only employees and not corporate margins.

In an interactive session, IT workers spoke about their concerns, particularly on the lack of any intervention in the face of run-ins with employers such as layoffs, forced resignations, terminations, employment fraud and delays in appointment. Women employees spoke about the lack of adequate security while in transit.

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