In the second week of December 2014, the business newspapers and magazines published news about TCS plans of ‘restructuring’ and ‘workforce optimization’ which could affect some 25000 senior employees. The news media were more emphasizing about TCS hiring of 55000 in upcoming fiscal year. Few quoted “some 25000+ senior employees could face the axe in the restructuring exercise”. No news about TCS ‘restructuring’ after second week of December 2014. That’s it!
The ground reality was entirely different for the TCSers those who received the termination letters with no valid reasons mentioned thereof, for those who were recently de-allocated from the current working project with no valid reasons and for those on site TCSers who were de-allocated from the project and called back to India all of a sudden. Those impacted TCSers were clueless and couldn’t come out of the shock to decide what to do next, bow down and look for a new job or get up to question it.
Few of our known TCSers too got impacted out of this profit driven termination drive and explained about the illegal and injustice process of retrenchment in the name of ‘restructuring’. To understand it in a bigger picture, a contact form seeking the details of the terminated employees was floated with short note in websites and a Facebook page ‘We are against TCS Layoffs’ on December 21, 2014. About 5000 pamphlets and 100 stickers were also floated across the OMR famously known as IT corridor of Chennai with the effort of about a dozen IT employees in Chennai. In return, the feedback and response was tremendous and unexpected. And it was not restricted to Chennai. TCSers from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and even from the overseas too approached us for the immediate action to stop the illegal terminations.
The magnitude and the impact of the issue warranted a strong united reflex action from the IT employees and that lead to the formation of a network of IT/ITES Employees. And, hence the FITE!
Yes, it’s not limited to one IBU or one campus or one city or one state. Moreover, the issue is not just limited to TCS alone. And the issue is not only ‘layoff’ or ‘retrenchment’ but it goes beyond. To name a few , eradication of the gender biased industry, transparency in hiring, appraisals and firing, regulation of the working hours and conditions, independently working grievances Redressal mechanism and so on. To achieve all the above, a collective united, focused active network of IT /ITES employees across India is very much required. One more reason is that all these are linked to the labour laws, economic policies of the Union government along with the appropriate State governments. Add to that all the IT/ITES companies are spread out across the country and well connected through NASSCOM.
Being well aware of all the above, the FITE coordinators are travelling thousands of kilometers to various cities across the country like Bengaluru, Hyderabad , Pune , Mumbai , Kochi , Kolkata , New Delhi to discuss with the impacted TCSers and other ITians and to strengthen the forum by identifying the State wise coordinators to move forward.
A press meet in Chennai to launch FITE , launch of an online petition to the PMO and others to stop the layoffs , discussions with the Labour Department officials in Bengaluru , Hyderabad , Chennai and Kolkata , legal discussions with the affected TCSers and the legal advisors , accelerating the social media campaign and up running the FITE website with posts , e-posters and articles, writing and designing the pamphlets , publishing e-posters , street campaigning with the pamphlets , wall posters and stickers , an attempt for street demonstration which was thwarted by the State Police in Chennai, recording and releasing the testimonials of the TCSers and a lot many other actions only broke the silence of mass media , trade unions , few political parties and Mr. Ajoy Mukherjee of TCS too (internally).
Now, the NASSCOM office bearers too are discussing about it unofficially. Each and every day, the news about the terminations in TCS is being flashed in print, online and visual media.
The positive signs of an action from the Labour Department witnessed after the Deputy Commissioner of Labour Department from Hyderabad rang up the TCS HR of Hyderabad office and called for a written submission about the ongoing terminations this Monday with the effort of FITE members in the city. Similarly, the meetings with the Labour Commissioner office happened in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai too. Kerala State Minister for Labour Shibu Baby John has directed the Regional Joint Labour Commissioner, Ernakulum, to file an urgent report on the TCS layoff issue after conducting an inquiry into the matter within a week.
TCS is about to declare their Q3 financial results next week. To keep their investors happy, there is good possibility that TCS could temporarily halt or slow down the on-going terminations. We could see the signs of the same.
After a fortnight effort, the silence broken, the pain and agony of the terminated employees not gone unnoticed and the moral support for us is high now. And, moreover, a national debate to speak about the welfare and the rights of IT/ITES employees has emerged now.
Yes! Then prevailed silence is broken now only with the joint effort of a dozen of FITE members on ground work for almost 24×7 and about 50 IT Employees actively working virtually (online network) for the last fortnight. Except few, all of them are currently employed in various IT/ITES companies who took long vacation for the cause.
The support for us is growing high an inch by inch daily among the IT employees, legal advisers and other activists. Now, the Facebook page got 10 K followers with viewership of about 3 lakhs and the petition got signed by 8000+ and adding up each and every minute. But, that’s not enough to break the inaction of the Government authorities to stop the terminations in TCS.
We are now making a good progress towards the justice for the affected TCSers.
Nevertheless to say, we have more miles to go to reach our destination.
Yes! A fortnight gone, a furlong ahead but miles to go !!!
A much focused united and country wide team work is crucial for our success.
State wise coordination committees are being formed across India to take up country wide campaign which alone could yield us success.
Join Us ! Let’s Unite and FITE for our justice and rights together!