People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 16, 2005

CITU Demands Implementation Of

Labour Laws In IT Sector



M K Pandhe, president, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has written the following letter to K M Sahni, secretary to the government of India, ministry of labour and employment on October 12 regarding the blatant violation of labour laws in Information Technology Enabled Services sector (ITES), urging the government to initiate appropriate steps to protect the interests of ITES workers.


THE Information Technology Enabled Services sector is spreading in India fast, and over five lakh workers and technicians are employed in it. We welcome the development of this sector as it is providing gainful employment to educated persons in India. Several centres in India have developed a large number of call centres and consultancy offices, which are earning enormous profits. Their number is likely to swell very fast in the near future.


Though formally ITES sector is covered by the labour laws of the land, in practice we find that the labour laws are being violated in a most blatant manner. We have received several complaints from the employees in this sector, some of which are given below:

  1.  The employees are working 12 hours a day without getting any overtime payment.

  2. In many call centres/BPO establishments, employees are forced to work only in night-shifts, in contravention of ILO convention on frequency of night shift and compensatory allowance for doing night duty.

  3. There is no grievance redressal machinery and any employee working in the industry face summary dismissal if one tries to raise any complaint about working conditions.

  4. Several undertakings do not give even the appointment letter to the employees so that they can be dismissed from service without even giving notice.

  5. Any attempt to form a union or association by the employees is penalised by summary dismissal.

  6. Several cases of sexual harassment and molestation of women employees have occurred but the women complainants are asked not to resume duties from the next day. This creates a situation where women employees are faced with humiliating working conditions while the culprits are rarely punished. The occurrences are more frequent when women work in the night shift.

  7. There are no rules to govern the working conditions, and occupation hazards have occurred in several cases without any remedy for redressal.

  8. Remunerations are arbitrarily fixed with consolidated wages and there is no social security or job security for the employees.

  9. Compared to the profits earned by the undertakings, the salary level is extremely low causing discontentment among the employees but they cannot raise any dispute for fear of losing jobs.

10. Maternity benefit is denied to women employees. Creche facilities are absent causing hardships to mothers with young children.


We are drawing your attention to the complaints we have received from employees working in the ITES sector. There may be other complaints from the employees. No dispute is being raised by the employees with the industrial relations machinery in India, as any attempt to do so will result in arbitrary dismissal.


The state governments are not taking any steps to ensure implementation of labour laws since they feel that it would result in such centres shifting to other states. On the contrary, there is a tendency to compete in giving concessions to this sector to attract more investment. However, there is urgent need to protect the interest of the employees in this sector so that this industry does not become a source of sophisticated indentured labour in our country. If this situation is allowed to continue, other industries will also follow suit making a mockery of all labour legislations in the country.


We would, therefore. earnestly request you to look into the matter and take suitable steps so that this sector is prevailed upon to respect labour laws in the country and create proper working and living conditions for the employees working in this industry. Since the phenomenon is occurring in centres all over India and many establishments in this sector are multi-state entities, the union labour ministry is expected to intervene to ensure full implementation of all the labour laws applicable to this sector.


We hope you will view the situation with concern and take expeditious steps to ensure benefits of all labour laws to the employees working in this sector. (INN)