Monday, November 06, 2006

Here comes “UNION” for IT workers


I was shocked to read this piece of news – CPI(M) has given a green signal to its trade union wing CITU to launch union in Information Technology (IT) sector. West Bengal IT Services Association (WBITSA) is due for a formal launch on November 17th. The Left trade unions are gearing up to make IT field standstill during nationwide bandh on December 14th.

Supporting the formation of Unions for IT workers, Prakash Karat, General Secretary of CPI (M) made this statement:

IBM one of the largest computer companies has unions in Europe and America. Why can’t IBM units in India have unions?
Yes, Mr. Karat, you can have union for employees benefit. But the union you are talking about is for the benefit of the party. Does IBM in US allow a union for the employees which listens to the local Democrat or Republican leadership?

Now hear the comments made by M K Pandhe, President of CITU.

The working conditions in IT sector are like a 19th century prison and employees work like slaves.

I think he is talking about his own party. His party in 21st century is like 19th century prison and party workers are like slaves.

Now just glance through the statistics in the table below brought out by the Labor Bureau. It shows the effect of “Unionism” and loss of man-days lost due to strikes and lockout. Over 73% of the man-days lost due to strike and lockout happens in West Bengal, 2 strong holds of Marxist Party. In 2004 4.7 lakh man-days were lost in Kerala and it increased to 30.6 lakh days in 2005. The study also found out that more than 73% man days were lost in manufacturing sector with little days lost in service sector like IT. Marxist party would love to see same kind of numbers in service sector also and hence they are so eager to have a Union for IT workers.



Unions in IT won’t have any effect in states other than West Bengal and Kerala. Even in West Bengal the effect will be minimal as they are following a capitalist form of communism as followed in China. The man-days lost are coming down considerably in West Bengal (See the chart above). The state, which it is going to impact the most, will be Kerala.

I am sure seeing their brothers in West Bengal; the jobless, militant comrades of Marxist Party in Kerala won’t sit idle. They will soon launch a union “All Kerala IT Employees Union”. This will be the last nail in the coffin for the development of IT in Kerala.

Last time when the petroleum prices were hiked, Communist party called for an all day strike. Life was as usual in most parts of India except in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala, the ruling Communist government made sure that all unions affiliated to the party joined the strike causing lot of hardships to people. Think of a similar thing happening in IT field with the advent of unions. Will any company be willing to open up an office in such a place?

Communist parties in their stronghold have destroyed industries with their militant unions. Now they have set their eyes on the emerging IT industry.


Let Us All Join and Say NO to UNIONS Affiliated to Political Parties in IT Sector

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brijesh,
Relevant indeed! Unions are actually votebanks for the party and nothing but currption goes on inside that..TO join the so called socialist union in a place like Chalai market you have to shell out anywhere between 1-4 lacs ..so much for socialist proletarianism! They will kill the IT industry if they make unions.Fortunately I think the employees are ttoo smart to listen to these kind of silly moves. Hope the old "sahakkal" in the IT compaines from teh Engg colleege days dont encourage this trend by the Marxist party.
~Prasanth

November 06, 2006 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Da brijesh
Good Topic selection again.I would like you to comment about "Engineering colleges and Political party Union",which i think is a big blunder!!!!!...
Ajith

November 06, 2006 3:02 AM  
Blogger abhishek said...

In the end, it will return to hit them. No industry holds more promise for college graduates than the IT industry. If IT unions drive businesses away...that will affect campus placements directly and force students to react. At least I hope so.

November 06, 2006 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont think unions are such a big problem - esp not for the existing employees !

life may not be like a prison - far from it, but the slavery factor is present (am saying this after 7 yrs of being in this industry). My company does a lot of outsourcing work for a leading American credit card co, in Delhi and across the world, so our staff goes to client sites. In the Delhi office, our staff is not allowed to walk in thru the same doors as their employees! Why ? Because our title is 'contractor', and we are considered the same category as sweepers and doodh-wallahs. So our staff is made to enter thru the rear of the building. Which is pathetic, because our folks are from premier engg colleges of this country - just like the staff there ! If this is not discrimination, what is?

A union to protect these kinds of rights is not a bad idea at all ! And a holiday every once in a while would not hurt either !

Anjana

November 06, 2006 4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do we have here? A guy who has run off to the US embraced the "capitalistic" lifestyle and then looking back at his own country and pointing fingers. Mr. Brijesh considering that you are holed up in the US you have no idea what goes on here in the IT industry what is the basis of your comments. People working here for 16 hours at a stretch is common. People who resign are not released by the company but put through great hardships with no one to turn to. These are just a few examples....

A union is very much required. Whether it is of the CPM/CPI type is a differnt matter all together. In any case I don't really appreciate people like you who have abandoned the country for greener pastures pointing fingers at my country. Please focus your attention to the IT industry in the US that is where you belong.

Thank You.

November 06, 2006 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brijesh, this is once again a relevant post.. Anjana's point sounds scary if it is true!!! I have heard that contractors and employees in Motorola in the US enter the office through different gates. And these freaking Indian "IT majors" are following suite.. Thats utterly ridiculous and extremely discriminatory. It wasn't that bad while I was working in one of the "IT majors (Pffft!!!)".. But that was 4-5 years back when TCS, Wipro and Infosys were all less than 1/4th their present size. Seems like human values for these companies are only on paper!!!

At the same time here is the other side of the coin.. There is a difference between "knowing" the issues of employees of a certain class/sector and "doing" something to alleviate the problem. Our "anonymous" friend sure "knows" the problem, but he doesn't-want-to/cannot "do" anything.. Assuming that he is a s/w engineer he sure doesn't want to jepardise his current employment by expressing himself more openly to his employer because (a) he very well knows that it is difficult to find a job that matches the s/w jobs in pay (evenif he is ready to work 20 hrs a day) so that he can lead his "petty-bour‧geois" lifestyle (b) Evenif he does agree to compromise on the pay, finding an easy-going government job is not that easy afterall and (c) he is not ready to give up the occasional "onsite" opportunities in the s/w companies and the taste of "capitalistic" lifestyle that comes with it.

How many s/w engineers can say without thinking twice that he/she is staying back in that prison-like, discriminating, ill-treating, slave-master like software company because of his "patriotism"?? Come-on guys,you should know your hearts better!!!!!

~Gibs

November 06, 2006 6:43 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Prashant,
In late 1990’s I know to join CITU you need to pay 2 lakhs and then there was a waiting period. I know this because being a Civil Engineer I worked for a year during the construction of power plant in Kerala. Once they join they main goal is to make maximum with less work. To show their solidarity to the political party they are ready to do any goondaism for them. I know many of my college “sahakkals” who are now in Microsoft, IBM etc in US and if we ask them now about what they did then, all of them regret. Time has made them understand that what they did then was utter foolishness.

Anon1
Thanks

Abhishek-
What will happen is that no companies will come to places where union is present. I am pretty sure the chances of union taking an upper hand in IT field is very less in any states other than Kerala and WB. So the graduating engineering students will go other states for jobs.

Anjana-
Yes, I see that here. In some big companies you have a different color badges and different entrances. I am not against unions for IT people. You need unions to represent you. But I am talking about unions formed by political parties. IT employees may have to strike work for something happening as far as in Cuba.

Getting too many holidays is bad, right- Anjana?

November 06, 2006 6:48 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Anon2-
I like to call you Mr Loser- You wrote so many things. But you don’t have the guts to come out in open. My dear Loser- First have backbone to introduce yourself and then express your views. People like you are the curse to our society.

Mr Loser- Let me make one thing clear- I am eligible to write on this topic more than anyone. I have seen the life on both parts of the world. I am basically a Civil Engineer. For one year I worked in a Construction Company where I have seen the damages the trade unions inflict on Kerala. For next 2.5 years I have worked in the software company in Chennai, India. I know what the work culture in India in software is like. Having lived in a state that has seen excess trade unionism I can foresee the damage a trade union can have in IT field.

I am very much happy to see a person who doesn’t want to go to any other country if he is presented with a better opportunity for his overall development. God- Save this poor soul. The comments you wrote clearly shows your frustration.

Mr Loser – Understand one thing- Going and working in another country is not “abandoning” one’s country. If India was a perfect country then it could have been the most developed country. But it is not. There are so many issues facing our motherland. I was using my blog to point out some of the issues. Also I don’t have to explain to you my patriotism to my motherland.

One more thing. Next time when you write you should not make this mistake. So I thought I would correct you. You asked me to focus attention to the IT industry in US. I am no way connected with IT industry in US. I am a PhD student in Civil Engineering in Arizona State University. So have your facts correct before you make a statement Mr Loser.

November 06, 2006 6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two thumbs up, Brijesh!!! Great comments...

~Gibs

November 06, 2006 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello.

The issues that Brijesh has raised are very valid. Politicians just want to make money and please/protect the vote bank. In order to protect the vote bank, they need money. Everybody knows that IT is a multi-multi billion dollar business. The politicians just want their piece of the pie too. Let the country go to hell.

The biggest problem with Kerala is the unstable political atmosphere. We fastidiously chuck out the ruling front and install the opposite party every five years. With the result, there is no continuity of policies. After the first three years during which time the ruling party will be busy undoing the acts of the former government which are not to their liking, they set out to make money. The remaining two years will be gobbled up in this act.

Look at Bengal. At least they have been having a stable govt. for the past more than 25 years. So there is consistancy in policies. And the CPM govt. there has understood by this time that communism does not grow through anti-capitalism. And that growth happens only when there is capital. And that for having capital, you need industries. Poor Kerala communists.

I am sure IT will take a second look when trying to come to Destination Kerala in future.

But then who bothers. Let us make money while we have power. Let the next generation go to hell.

Anon.

November 06, 2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article and some of the comments seem to reflect the attitude of "air-conditioned intellectuals". Shouting over the net and on the dining table would not bring any revolutions in our political machinery.

Like we all think of satisfying our bosses to get a pay hike, the politicians always dance to the tunes of their masters - the "voting citizens". The situation described in the blog arised from the frustration of the normal public against the IT youth adding to their cost of living and showing off with their money. I think CPI(M) is trying to leverage on that dissatisfaction among the masses. Yes, if by destroying IT i could win the masses and remain in power, I will definitely do it. Wont you? Its simple, buddies - the priorities are different for You, Me, CPI(M), People and companies - you just need to find a way to push your priorities to win - the only way out is to get a voting card and do a collective bargain. So, do we want to come up with a "Technology/Industry Development and Proptection Union" and collectively vote?

-SG

November 06, 2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger Mind Curry said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 06, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger Mind Curry said...

first things first..excellent post and its scary to imagine how these unions can screw up the IT sector..the sector that has single-handedly placed India on the growth map and given some hope to revive other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing etc. i just pray this foolery doesnt gain any ground..but as you rightly said, kerala will be the worst affected and the people will not realise this until it hits them hard.

secondly, its strange how suddenly you have 2-3 anonymous writers saying the same thing..some bloggers have developed this really funny habit of writing different comments under different aliases..its a shameful trend.

thirdly about the separate entrances for contract workers and permanent employees. its mostly got to do with the security system than any discrimination as far as I know..i have been involved in setting up these proximitybased card reader systems in a couple of places. its just that your system is easier to configure if you have separate entrances for these two different categories of workers..(not categories of people - no discrimination)..atleast this is the truth about the matter i have seen, and the issue purely technical than anything else..how you see things and want to think about your own self is a different matter. we can see the downside of anything progressive and resist it.

fourthly, one of the broadminded commenters mentioned that she/he has to enter through the same door as sweepers and its unfair..so that is the main issue..so much for the social equality that was intended.

fifthly, most people against development always quote the lopsided development of india..of how we can see a slum outside the city.. i have only one question for them..would they be happier if they only saw slums? would they prefer entire india to remain a slum?

for slums to develop we need to bring in money, work, employment, wealth..we cant make india overnight a developed nation..15 years ago we had only 4 big cities and rest was all slum..today there are more developed towns, more work, less poor people..

we have to begin somewhere..if you keep listening to the leftist leaders, we will remain poor..and they will remain leaders..

good post brijesh..keep writing..

November 06, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger silverine said...

Good post Brijesh! Last Saturday someone called me a 'cyber coolie'...he works for a public sector undertaking and is pumpimg for unions in the IT sector. He got the job on a sports quota and frequently bunks work in the name of 'hockey practise'. On his own admission there is hardly any work in his company...he gets a salary, medical benefits. LTA etc. He will go through the routine of going to work, signing the register and sitting around killing time till it's time to leave till he retires. He lives in the belief nurtured to suppress his jealousy that IT workers are exploited and are made to do the grind for the kind of salaries they get. The motive for unions is the same...pure jealousy.

November 06, 2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nair,
I was thinking of this idea of having Union for IT industry and was wondering why any of our political parties was not at all interested in this while it impacts millions of IT professionals in India. Atlast Communist party have guts to talk about this. Let me ask you these simple questions. How many hours you work per day in US? would you work during weekends in US? My sister is working in IT industry and i am seeing how these indian companies exploiting these workers while earning Billions of dollars from US companies. I dont think any US company would want any employee to work during weekends and require to work 12 hrs per day. The Indian companies are culprits and they are the one who is going to stop exploiting people because of the unionization of IT industry. None of those foreign companies will go away from India because people in IT industry only want to be treated as humanly as possible by the Money hungry, exploiting Indian IT companies.

November 06, 2006 4:57 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Gibs

Thanks a lot. As Mindcurry wrote in one of the comments the entrance may be different for different workers probably due to security issue. It need not be taken as discrimination.

Anon2

In Bengal communist parties are following China. They talk about communism but practice capitalism. But in Kerala communist try to implement the communist ideology which has proved to a complete failure in the whole world. The reason why communist parties want to have Union is that they understand the fact that it is here the maximum money is and if they have union it is easy for them to make money. You must remember one thing. It is same communist party who lead agitation against computerization in early 1990 saying that computerization will bring more unemployment. This party has the habit of making historic blunders one after another.



SG,

"air-conditioned intellectuals"- sound like this reply is from an hardcore communist. I know very well I cannot "revolutionize" the political system. But at least we can make a try, right?



Your observations are good. One of the gravest mistake IT people do is not voting in the election. They feel that their vote is not going to make any change to the system. It was estimated that less than 30% of the Technopark employees voted last time during the assembly elections. As you mentioned one way to protect your right is to go out and vote and defeat those who don't want to see your welfare but see just vote banks

November 07, 2006 12:42 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

MC,

Unions in IT field will have no impact on any part of India except Kerala. That is for sure.

We have seen a lot of these anonymous replies in our Save Kerala blog. So I am not surprised. Again some of the comments reflect the typical antidevelopment attitude which is tough to digest. The bottom line is if India eradicates poverty then these people cannot talk about socialism and garner voter. So they will do everything so that their own standard of living is improved and not that of people.



Silverine,
There are so many people like that. They want to have a salary equivalent to IT professionals. But they don't want to work. They get jealous of people working in IT field seeing their life style and salary they earn. These kinds of people will voraciously argue for unions in IT field because they want to see downfall of the IT field. There was a time in India when working in a public sector company was considered to be the ultimate one. It is no longer the case and people who have no options but still in PSC feel jealous of their counterparts in IT. Some use to tell me-No medicine for baldness and jealousy.

Anon3,
"How many hours you work per day in US?"

Normally I work 40 hours a week. If I have a deadline or something I work more. It is same everywhere. My boss who is an American work for almost 60 hours a week almost every week. So don't think only in India you work more than 40 hours. Some times you have deadline and you may have to work more and some days you will have only less work. I have also worked in the software field in India. It is not that bad as you portray. If you expect your sister to get good pay without doing proper work and meeting deadlines, then try to get a job some where else.

November 07, 2006 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Pradeep said...

Good Post, having worked in Detroit i can see where the unions would lead the IT industry.. Doomsday friends :(. GM & Ford always had issues with UAW (United auto workers), wait till u hear this ,all these companies which have very strong , powerful unions ... but their in-house IT divisions which are as big as some of our IT companies are NOT a part of these Unions. Its the very nature of the IT industry. I'm not sure if the IT industry is unionized in any part of the world at this time. Would be interested in knowing if it is? Even infosys in China doesn’t have unions i guess.

A question for IT people supporting unions in IT industry. What role/work of yours do u find changing or what benefits do u expect if ur company becomes unionized?

Assuming that your answer would be on lines of lesser work, more representation....

I recommend that you move to another fields as our Indian IT industry is based on model that is completely on the other side. sorry bro u woke up on the wrong side of the rock... as u know contracting in big in IT industry, companies would move to contractors to get their job done.. this is what happened in Northwest Airlines ,flight mechanics turned to strike to increase their wages already as high as $110/hr. North west filed bankruptcy and bought in contractors for $60/hr, these mechanics are stuck. With the highest number of engineers graduating, it shldnt be a tough task for companies to find resources.

Be realistic and make hay while the sun shines, cheers :)

Prady

November 09, 2006 5:02 PM  
Blogger Sachin R K said...

Brijesh,
Was just curious about the comments and started browsing. And boy, was I stunned! To think an IT person would seriously support unions is just staggering. Heres a thought - at the next Go SLOW agitation we will only use our left hand for typing out code.
Sachin.

November 10, 2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Prady-good observations. If Indian IT workers have union and hence the work suffer, then these companies which outsource the work will go to some other country. There only aim is to have the work done as fast as possible with less money. Now India offers then that option and they are coming to India. If due to union or something the quality of work suffers then these companies will surely outsource work to some other countries.

Sachin,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. The people who wants Union are those who wants to see the death of IT field. Typing with just left hand- well said.

November 11, 2006 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Sukanta said...

Brijesh,
Nice initiative and good discussions. I represent WBITSA - the association of which you are discussing about.

I came here to inform about the formal launch of the association and the website www.wbitsa.org

You can see and read what this association is all about and those who think joining, may apply online too.

~Sukanta

November 15, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Sukanta
Nice to see a active member of IT Union visiting my blog. Can you please explain to me why you need an union affiliated to a political party? Why cant you people form some association which is not affiliated to any party. Those who join this union are those who want to see the death of the union. I am very curious to know the how many legitimate IT employers joined your “esteemed” association. Please don’t give me the name of various leaders in your organization who are no way related to IT. I am sure the number of legitimate IT workers will be less than 100 who have joined your organization.

November 16, 2006 2:50 AM  
Anonymous Sukanta said...

Brijesh,

is there a person who is not political? He is either left, or right or centrist, or anarchist. If you come to naming parties he is eithe Replublican or Democrat, or CPIM or Congress or BJP. Does any system or country run without a Political Party or affiliation.

The answer is no. We all have some belief in our heart and mind. Some may be active while some others might be actively involvied or showing those beliefs. Now as far as this association is concerned, we have formed this association as a Registered Society and not as a union. Not that we couldn't. But we also know this sector is different ...all that 'IQ', 'intellegence', 'no need for union'..etc etc talks, you know!

It is true mpst senior leaders come from a particular Political Party, the CPI(M), but then you cant help it..they are omnipresent throughout the state and running here for last 30 years inspite of all odds.

But you would interested to know, quite some leaders of the association are those whom people call 'apolitical', and as for numbers, you are right to the dot, We launched this just a day back and there has been 7 offline and 115 online memberships. Applications have come from level of managers, senior managers, and voila, even some entrepreneurs!

Sukanta

November 16, 2006 4:44 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

My dear friend Sukanta,
You are going away from the issue. People will have political beliefs. I don’t disagree with that. The issue here is if we need to have an union in IT industry which is controlled by a party?

You talk about Republican and Democrat? Can you tell him me the names of the trade unions controlled by them in US the same way CPI(M) controls it. I am sure you can hardly find one.


My friend, Please go ahead and include every IT worker in Bengal and forcefully make them attend strikes. If that happens no more companies will come to Bengal and you people will be happy.

“We launched this just a day back and there has been 7 offline and 115 online memberships.”

These numbers clearly shows the overwhelming response to union in IT industry. I have registered twice online. Am I included in that 115 online members? I am not even in IT field. I put as Senior Manager both time.

“we have formed this association as a Registered Society and not as a union”

Then why is all the leaders from a political party and not a single member from the management of any leading software firm? Sukanta, these are the typical way of hiding the true intentions. The communist have understood that IT industry has lot of money for which they have no access to. If they form union they could get access to these money by the help of these employees.

See your documents section in your website- does it have any good article about the achievements of IT industry in West Bengal? No. The first article calls IT employee as “Cyber coolies”. Is it the way an organization which work for the betterment of IT employees describe them? I am sorry to say this is also another typical communist attitude. I know because I am living in a state which is ruined by communists.

November 16, 2006 6:22 AM  
Anonymous rathi said...

Brijesh,
Unionism in IT sector will surely hinder the economic growth of the country, creating apprehensions among the potential investors.You have sown the seed of thought which should give fruit of wise action.good ,let the constructive critic in you stall the problem makers.
rathi

November 17, 2006 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact,unions affiliated to political parties should be banned in any industry not only IT.Though in present situations such a thing does not seem possible.But isnt it upto the employees to decide.can such unions force people to join them?it is eventually upto the employees to decide what is good for them.

November 18, 2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
Trade unions movements in Kerala resulted in more job losses that creating more opportunities - I don't remember the numbers though.

Anjana -

Having a separate door for contractors is not about ostracizing anyone. It is mainly due to security resons, compliance reasons and regulatory reasons.

November 20, 2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger abhishek said...

@anonymous at 8:57

"How many hours you work per day in US? would you work during weekends in US? My sister is working in IT industry and i am seeing how these indian companies exploiting these workers while earning Billions of dollars from US companies. I dont think any US company would want any employee to work during weekends and require to work 12 hrs per day. The Indian companies are culprits and they are the one who is going to stop exploiting people because of the unionization of IT industry."

Some of your assumptions about the U.S. economy are just flat out wrong. First, different industries have different priorities. In engineering profession, a 9 to 5 job is very rare in the U.S. Most people work 60-70 hours a week as Brijesh pointed. In banking, people work 90-110 hours a week. Don't believe me. Ask any of your investment banking or investment profession friends. In medicine, well, let's not even go there, because medics routinely work for 2-3 days in a row. My friend, if a person is dedicated to a job and sees value in working beyond the routine hours, then he will welcome the job. Otherwise, he is always free to vote with his feet. That is, he can always quit. It is this notion that labour unions and lazy people like you fail to realize. IT companies are not exploiting anyone because you are always free to get up and leave. Otherwise, you probably feel that you have a right to the job. Well, tell that to the next hard-working person and you'll soon find yourself out of a job. Sorry man, there's no space for asses like you in a meritocracy like our India.

November 21, 2006 11:48 PM  
Blogger abhishek said...

@Anjana

What is so bad about sharing a door with sweepers? They do a valuable service as well. You see, the problem at heart is not your concern for worker's rights, it is purely your selfishness to see that your job, which you view as your right, is as easy as possible. Then again, how do you explain the dignity of a job to a person who's been working for 7 years and doesn't realize this already? Go join a union to make your unreasonable claims, madam, but I will warn you, for every idiot that does so, there is another Indian anxiously waiting to take that opportunity. Never forget your alternatives.

November 21, 2006 11:51 PM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

Rathi aunty,
There is no doubt that political union in IT will hinder economic growth of India. But there are few people in India who cannot realize the importance of IT for the economic growth of India.

Anon@1:08 AM
Most of the employees join union because they don’t have any option. The political parties force them to join. This is what I see in Kerala.

Anon@1:23 PM
It is a fact that because of militant trade unionism kerala lost more jobs than it could create.

Abhishek- I support what you told. If you feel that the IT company you are working is harassing you then you can definitely quit that company and join another if you have the required qualification. The people who want union are those who want big pay checks and work less. For your second comment let Anjana reply to you directly.

November 22, 2006 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abhishek -

I find no reason to explain my understanding of dignity of labour to you. Since you are so vehement about my opinion, I would like to clarify my stand.

I think you have completely missed my point. My concern is not that I share the same door with a sweeper (I still do this everyday). It is that the client folks DO NOT. What I condemn is not the fact that I am considered an equal to a sweeper, but that the client employee is NOT.

And Mr.Abhishek, THIS is the discrimination I want to fight against. You think this is unreasonable? I'd rather go get a life in an organization where noone is more equal than anyone else, no matter where in the world it is.

And rather than just stay in a job because the alternatives are limited (and because someone else is waiting to snatch ur job)is stupidity. I think you need to get out, get a life and just grow up.

Anjana

November 23, 2006 4:04 AM  
Blogger abhishek said...

@Anjana

"I think you have completely missed my point. My concern is not that I share the same door with a sweeper (I still do this everyday). It is that the client folks DO NOT. What I condemn is not the fact that I am considered an equal to a sweeper, but that the client employee is NOT.

And Mr.Abhishek, THIS is the discrimination I want to fight against. You think this is unreasonable? I'd rather go get a life in an organization where noone is more equal than anyone else, no matter where in the world it is. "

Anjana, I didn't mean to attack you personally, so if that's what you felt, I am sorry. But getting back to the topic, I believe that there is one of two possibilities why you don't share the door with your clients:
1) Security reasons - someone else mentioned the nature of data security reasons here.
2) Discrimination - if this is the reason, you should bring it up with your bosses and colleagues. Is this something you have tried? What has been the response?

Even if the reason is no. 2, I don't think labour unions will help you ultimately, because the practise may not be industry-wide. It would certainly sound very strange where I work. And I haven't heard of other people complain of it. That isn't to say that it is not common, but I feel that it is incidental. But you decide.

"And rather than just stay in a job because the alternatives are limited (and because someone else is waiting to snatch ur job)is stupidity. I think you need to get out, get a life and just grow up."

Oh, I completely agree. Getting out is a perfectable acceptable alternative. That's not what I was arguing about at all though. What I was saying was as long as there are other people who can work at your job for longer hours and same pay, as long as they peform the same job at the same quality, do you think it is legitimate to argue for your rights? Isn't it more legitimate to buck up and either work as you are already or leave/quit. And if it's still unbearable (I remember reading that you've been working in the industry for 7 years, in which case 16 hour workdays is a little too much), approach your boss. Of course, do the necessary homework - check if your situation is unique, given your level of experience. Talk to your boss about the life-work balance; and if your boss is unresponsive, then as you said, grow up and get out.

The danger of forming a worker's union is that your needs and concerns may be unique and are probably legitimate. But a union will try to collect everyone's issues, irrespective of whether they are legitimate or not and take the lowest common denominator.

Note one of the demands of the West Bengal IT Union:
Forty-eight hours weekly work schedule.

Is it legitimate to ask people to work 50 hours per week, when some may want to work 60/70/80 hours a week?

My experience having seen how labour unions work in Kerala has been that they always overstretch themselves. While they may begin with reasonable wage bartering, they very quickly disintegrate into a worker's monopoly that serves the interests of its members at the expense of others. What if you didn't want to be a part of the union? In Kerala, that is equivalent to being unemployed, because there is an implied contract between businesses and worker unions to only hire union workers. Those who are willing to work harder are relegated to under-employment or no employment at all. Over time, this feeds into the notion that one's job is one's right - the same atitude that government employees take to their job - an atitude that is ruinous to work quality. Anjana, what I am trying to convey is that you should keep your relationship with your employer (corporate organization, immediate boss, colleagues etc) as professional and personal as possible. Don't make it confrontational by joining a union. Make it constructive by communicating those needs and if you have to get colleagues to join you to do that, do that as well. But, never charge union fees and don't abuse that power to squeeze corporates of their last dime. Because that's what happened in Kerala, and that's why 1 of 6 Kerala graduates are unemployed. The rest are under-employed, employed outside the state, employed in-state by the government or working in agriculture.

November 27, 2006 7:41 PM  

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