Happy Third Anniversary of F.I.T.E !
The Trade Union Act of India was enacted in 1926. While the first registered Trade Union, ‘Madras Labour Union’ was established on 1916, it has taken about 100 years to manage one in our industry. Historian R.A Leeson notes, “Two conflicting views of the trade-union movement strove for ascendancy in the nineteenth century: one the defensive-restrictive guild-craft tradition passed down through journeymen’s clubs and friendly societies, … the other the aggressive-expansionist drive to unite all ‘labouring men and women’ for a ‘different order of things’.” Sam Gompers, An American Trade Union leader calls Trade Union Movement as an organized economic power of the workers which can establish most direct social insurance for them. A different order of things where the workers collectively decide what is good for them, for the majority section is possible and is what the world needs.
To earn a comfortable livelihood for self and family by working in the IT sector is a dream for millions of Indians. Those who make their way into the sector perform their work day and night with heartfelt dedication which makes the sector successful. Such workforce needs protection. They cannot be offered for exploitation. But the exploitation of the workforce in the interest of profit is a harsh reality.
Ever since F.I.T.E was formed on December 29th 2014, we have been on ground protesting against this exploitation. We have grown to question authoritatively against various problems concerning our employees in these three years. This year particularly was a significant one as we became one of the first trade unions in IT sector to receive registration status from the Government of Tamil Nadu. When many management gurus thought this will just be a passing cloud 3 years back, this has been our growth. From extending support to the workers of other sectors to intervening on problems related to social justice, our Trade Union has not limited ourselves to mobilizing IT workers for their ‘layoff’ issues alone.
It can be comfortably said that F.I.T.E and similar Trade Union organizations will make increasingly greater impacts in the next few decades with respect to the work culture in the IT sector. Now that the IT workforce is gaining consciousness of its class and realizing the need to organize themselves, it’s time that the managements give up their authoritativeness and heed to the demands raised by the employees. With many more beautiful years to come, let’s dream of a work place free from all forms of exploitation and make it a reality. Happy 3rd anniversary to F.I.T.E and a happy new year 2018 to everyone.
Forum for IT Employees.