In the flock of news filled with politics a big news got missed by Indian national media. It was “Karnataka Govt has certified the formation of the Karnataka State IT/ITES Employees Union (KITU) under the Trade Union Act, 1926, and Karnataka Trade Unions Regulations, 1958.” This news got less than no attention. Bengaluru is the biggest IT hub of India and it happens to be capital of Karnataka. I believe this is the biggest blunder by Karnataka Govt when it comes to IT sector and Economy of India.
Historically speaking Indian economy began as a socialist economy. For Indians Strikes, Agitations, Processions, Politics and Unions are not new. We have seen all these since our childhood. Unions in India are basically funded and supported by some political party. Politicians easily influence the Unions to dance on their music. Many companies and manufacturing plants across India were closed down and millions lost their jobs in the past due to constant strikes by Unions. One of the reason why India falls back in Ease of Doing Business is Politics and Policy. Unions are combination of failures of both.
IT (Information Technology) Industry kept itself away from this kind of leftist politics for long. I believe it is one of the main reasons it thrived. Today, IT Industry shares major chunk of India’s GDP and is big factor behind a rising India. Allowing Unions in IT industry will open the doors for the politicians and radical socialists to make lobbies. These lobbies will influence and bully (in some cases) the directors of the companies, as they do in other industries. This is totally unhealthy in terms of business. It will lead to shooing investors away, investing in the IT sector.
I belong to the IT sector and know what happens in the companies. IT sector has its own shortcomings. I know that there can be managers who discriminate on regular basis. There will be fraudulent companies which will flunk labor laws and exploit workers. But, the laws of India provide legal mechanism to tackle these hurdles, companies themselves make sure that no worker is discriminated against. Workers can negotiate their wages on their own. Companies provide health insurances (I know many will argue about their quality but, still it’s there!) Then, what else is left?
The biggest difference between public sector and private sector is that Company is under no obligation, to keep you employed. As a part of private sector, IT industry is not a welfare establishment and everyone who joins it, join voluntarily. If one thinks he is not paid enough or not given fair chance all they have to do is QUIT! The only cases where government should look at is basic rights and protections as per constitution. Government and Politics must be kept away from this extremely talented, dynamic and investment friendly industry.
My biggest fear is that, IT workers everywhere in India will demand the Unions and politicians will certify them for their own selfish purposes. It will be disastrous for the economy and a thriving industry. I would not like to work in a company where a Union decides whether I will do my job or not on any given day. I wish Indian IT industry won’t see that day. The only silver lining, I can see with this situation is that, many companies ask prospective employees to sign a form which state “I won’t be part of any Union” or something to that effect.
It seems just like Textile industry of 50’s and 60’s, Electrical and Automobile industry of 70’s and 80’s, and now IT industry which began in late 90’s , the socialists and leftists in India find a way to shut them down. For now, all we can do is wait and watch. I will pray this Union fever doesn’t spread!
The views expressed in this article are my personal opinions which must not be related to my employer Autodesk and by no means it should be connected to views of its employees as well.