Shyamal Majumdar: Keep unions out of IT | Business Standard Column

Shyamal Majumdar: Keep unions out of IT | Business Standard Column


This is a well-argued
crisp article which defends the present woes of Indian IT industry. The only major
point one would opt to differ with the author is the caption which denies a
right available to employees in India by virtue of  a 90 year old legislation(Indian Trade Unions
Act, 1926).

Tatas are renowned for
best HR practices and the controversy about large scale lay off or termination
will, hopefully be a passing phase which TCS will be able to take in its
stride. TCS may not need the kind of defence provided in the article.

If the Indian IT industry
does not need trade unions, by the same arguments, one can prove that we do not
need political parties in India to run governments. From the grass-root level
upwards, ask people to elect the best candidates and build up leadership
upwards to both houses of parliament. We should get an ideal system of

The high salaries being
paid in IT to engineers and MBAs at lower levels for jobs which can be done by
XII standards with six month training, abuse the talent and skill developed at
huge cost to the nation. Tech Pro Research study quoted in the article points
to several other unhealthy HR practices.

The Rs 4000 crore
training bill footed by IT sector works out to slightly above Rs7k per employee
which is equal to what an ‘average’ ITite spends on a week-end dine out!

The larger issue is
totally unscientific and ethically unacceptable Human Resource Management
practices in India which have cropped up because of or as part of reforms
across government and public/private sector organisations during the last two
decades and being accepted by employers and employees as a necessary ingredient
of economic development. These include uprooting of an existing pension scheme
for government and public sector employees( the substitute National Pension
System has none of the social security features of the traditional pension
schemes), the hire and fire approach to recruitment even in sensitive
positions, total disregard to the skill requirements while making recruitment(engineers
and doctors add MBA to their CV and compete for highly paid jobs which need
only a XII Class pass!), absence of transparent career progression plans,
absence of relationship between skill needs and remuneration, scant respect for
some relativity in compensation packages for identical jobs and a pick and
choose approach when it comes recruitment and succession plans at higher

Central government should
cause a high level expert study about HRMD in government and public and private
sector organisations and take a view to make necessary changes in legislations
and policy guidance to bring some order in the chaos into which India’s
workforce has been pushed today. The present situation cannot be remedied by
sporadic labour law reforms or judicial intervention as is happening in this

M G Warrier,


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