IT companies are bound by the same labour laws that govern other industries and their employees are free to form labour unions, the State government has clarified in a recent letter to a labour union.
“IT company employees are free to form a trade union and can redress their grievances by evoking the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act 1947. It is also informed that no IT industry has been exempted from the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act 1947,” Kumar Jayant, Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment Department, has said in response to a petition submitted by the New Democratic Labour Front – IT Employees wing (NDLF).
But labour department officials say the question should not have arisen in the first place. “IT companies are governed by the same provisions as other industries. This letter is not a new notification, but just a reply clarifying details,” an official told The Hindu .
IT industry officials too maintain that the clarification is not new and it is unlikely to impact the industry. “Unlike factories, the structure is different here. There are teams, team leads, managers, subordinates, etc. Also, the workforce is largely migrant population, the salaries are structured and people go for projects abroad as well. The concept of unions will not work successfully in such an industry,” the official said. NDLF’s organiser S. Karpagavinayagam said a minimum of seven employees are needed for any union to start its branch or wing in an IT company.
“This confirmation by the government brings to light the rights of IT employees in no uncertain terms.” NDLF had filed a contempt petition in the Madras High Court in April against the State government for not following the court’s order to decide whether the IT industry would be covered under the Industrial Disputes Act or not.
Industry players say the clarification is not new and is unlikely to impact the sector given its nature