For the first time in Chennai, graduates denied jobs by a multi-national corporation who had recruited them from their college campuses, staged a hunger strike on Sunday.

As many as 59 recruits who had graduated from different colleges of the State came together for the fourth time to demand answers from HCL Technologies, the company that had recruited them in 2011.

“HCL was given the first slot in most of our colleges because we all trusted their reputation. All of us here are students who have obtained a first class, many with a distinction, who got jobs on the first day of campus recruitments,” said a graduate.

Since most colleges follow a ‘one person one job’ policy, we could not even sit for interviews of other companies who came after HCL, he added.

The recruits, at Valluvar Kottam shouted slogans including, “HCL lend us your ears, give us back our two years,” while undertaking the day-long fast.

“We met HCL officials twice at their Haddows Road office, but every time we did, they asked us to wait until August. How long are we supposed to wait hoping they will call us someday?” asked another recruit.

“Also, the ‘letter of intent’ the company gave us is valid only till this June. We are worried that they may use this to completely deny us jobs,” said a graduate.

The students were also supported by activists from Knowledge Professionals Forum, a support group for IT employees.

R. Suthir, an activist, said: “The situation in the IT industry is really grave and this problem is faced by many companies. But HCL’s handling of the situation has been worse than most.”

The recruits have also sought the intervention of the labour commission to help sort out their problem.

HCL Technologies had urged the students they had recruited on campus to apply to HCL Infrastructure, another vertical within the company in order to get onboard soon. “But that work involves calling and managing servers which does not require engineering expertise. We can never get into development or coding field with that kind of experience. Also, the salary is lower and we have to undergo a five-phase interview process again,” said another student.

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