Barely a week after engineering graduates in Bangalore, recruited by HCL in 2011-12, went on a day-long hunger strike demanding their jobs, those in Chennai have joined the fight.

“We will sit on a day-long fast on Sunday at Valluvar Kottam to protest against the delay. It has been a year since we graduated and we are still waiting for our joining letters,” said a graduate from a city college. Over 50 engineering graduates had observed a hunger strike at Freedom Park in Bangalore on March 30.

Engineers across the country have held a series of protests over the past few weeks at various HCL offices.

The one-year delay has hit some graduates really hard. “I took a loan of Rs. 5 lakh to support my college and hostel fees. Now, I am working in content writing firm to at least start repaying the loan,” said Rajesh Soman, a graduate. “Going for MBA classes or even joining a B-school is not even an option. With a job at an MNC like HCL, I thought I would repay my loan in two years and then pursue a Masters. All that has gone for a toss,” he added.

Students say while the joining in most IT companies has been delayed, their situation would have been much better had HCL Technologies told them right in the beginning that they might not be given joining dates soon.

“By the time we realised in December that our joining dates would be delayed, it was too late to find jobs as companies had already hired those who had graduated in June,” said another student. He said though many companies have openings in their non-technical sectors, engineers do not take them up willingly. “The pay is very less and we feel the work is not just according to our qualification,” said S. Pranav, a recruit.

“Even BPO companies reject us as they know we are overqualified for the job. They put you on tele-calling straightaway because they know you would leave anyway, and there is no use of training you,” said N. Narsi, another student.

“Also, the timings are not suited. When you work all night, it is not possible to look fresh in the mornings and go for interviews. There is not much time to prepare for the processes too,” he added.

Companies have gone slow on hiring because of the current economic environment, so jobs for engineering graduates are hard to come by. “We are not fresh graduates anymore. Once the next batch comes by, our little chances are lost too,” said Rajesh

HCL chairman Shiv Nadar had personally intervened in the matter. “We had a video by a senior official who said they will start planning by August. We want at least some conformation that we will get onboard soon,” said another recruit.

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