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By: Joyal Johnson
Unionization of Indian IT Sector: An Exploratory Study
The IT sector is one of India’s major employer in the Service sector. Around 45 lakh employees work directly and 1.5 crore employees work indirectly in this sector. Employee unionization is still in its nascent stage in this sector. IT employees are bulk in number, unorganized and exploited openly by corporate and Governmental agencies and political mechanisms have kept silent. IT corporates are revamping and redesigning its workforce in an unprecedented and one sided manner in bulk scale without considering the employee’s perspective. Job losses because of automation is another threat faced by the IT employees. In this exploratory study, the causes of the phenomenon of low level of employee unionization in IT sector is studied from the perspective of key stakeholder in the IT sector- Employees, HR, Trade Union Leaders and Advocates, by analyzing the above mentioned factors of job losses, automation and exploitation faced by employees. By collecting the multifaceted data from in depth interviews, secondary data analysis from newspaper, e magazines and social media platforms like Twitter this study aimed for a holistic level of reasoning for this low unionization phenomenon.
IT employees have very low level of political affiliations. Most of these young generation, white collar, job holders are not used to the traditional political way of unionization even though they are seriously concerned about their job, career, salary and company. They are against the idea of a union like in manufacturing sector which predominantly takes a stand against the employer and gets assistance for employees through an attack mode. IT employees and HR staff are concerned about the big business failure the company has to face because of a full on strike or any other process delay. Being individualistic in nature, membership in the union is not seen to be conducive for their career and for high performance score from the manager and HR. As they still haven’t exploited the power through coalitions and unions, the individual IT employees are afraid of the influence their employers have in politics, media and money power. Besides, employees have very low level of interaction amongst each other, because of the short term work assignments, and self-centered work culture of competition. Even though team work is the norm, the employee essentially remains on his own. As they had been having a pleasant journey so far, they are also not equipped with knowledge of the employment law by the employees. The threat is slowly getting strong enough for them and while rudimentary talks are going on, they still have not exploited the power of unions and nor aware of the ease with which they can form a trade union. As the sector still is a profitable growing one, IT Employees do not support stoppage of work through strikes as it affects the deliverables and the company will lose clients. These are the main roadblocks of Indian IT employee unionization.
By Joyal Johnson - PGDM- B, 2016-18