Forum for I.T Employees (F.I.T.E) Responds to Statements made by Mohandas Pai June 7th Economic Times
First, let us identify Mohandas Pai as an industry lobbyist and an industry representative. His recent statements merely reflect his position and his role in the industry. The views he professes is therefore not surprising. Mr. Pai makes the following points:
- Fear of job loss is misplaced. This is normal attrition. Job cuts are exaggerated.
- Those being fired are non-performers and therefore deserve no sympathy. As usual the bottom 1-2 percent are asked to leave.
- Nobody is supporting the attempt to collectivize on part of employees.
- Those who support these efforts will not get jobs.
Mr. Pai is not the only one who professes these views and merely voices the general perception of industry elite in crude and stark terms. We take this opportunity to make a few things very clear.
At this stage, large layoffs and forced resignations are an undeniable fact. It is laughable that the talking heads representing the industry, insist on denying this pretend to be victims of a sudden media conspiracy. Why would hundreds of employees come forward to state their experience of forced resignations and harassment? Can they all have imagined it? Do they benefit from this elaborate “lie”?
At this point, there are business journalists, researchers, employees, analyst groups and recruitment agencies who attest to the fact that large-scale layoffs and massive declines in hiring are underway. The fact that companies are informally harassing workers untill they quit, allows Pai and others to blatantly be dishonest about what is transpiring in the industry today. For this reason, we urge employees to refuse to resign when pressurised and document harassment.
These layoffs and forced resignations have nothing to do with under-performance. Companies are appeasing investors and cutting costs. Salaries are the main cost for IT firms and therefore the workforce is under attack. However, top management knows that there will be legal consequences and arbitrary, large-scale layoffs will tarnish the public image of the industry. For this reason companies are conveniently using underperformance as an excuse. Why else are there suddenly so many so-called under performers in 2017? Quick investigation into the matter shows that companies are changing the terms of appraisal and arbitrarily giving employees low ratings to justify termination.
In an industry that is data driven we find the lack of transparency and data interesting. It’s very easy to bend the truth and make casual statements in defense of the unethical business practices. How are about some numbers and facts?
Why don’t companies publish the number of employees awarded poor ratings this year? How many resignations have been received? How much is really being invested in re-training and how serious are these efforts? When firms themselves are saying they will chop off 10% of the workforce it’s funny that Mr. Pai is telling news reports that 1-2% are being “asked to leave”.
Moreover, if the problem is really with performance, why is it that the bulk of people being thrown out of their jobs have between 8-18 years of experience? Quite obviously they are targeted because they are an expense to the firm and it’s convenient to hire underpaid freshers. Please remember employees this use- and- throw attitude target those on whose backs this industry has generated wealth over the last two and a half decades. They are not under-performers; they are the reason that overpaid industry elites can sit there comfortably lie to the press. Let us note that while lakhs of IT employees are in the processes of losing jobs someone like Vishal Sikka earned an obscene 48 crore rupees last fiscal year.
The hypocrisy of the industry is so extreme that there are not double standards but triple or quadruple standards! Companies project very create very different accounts of the truth depending on which constituency they are trying to appease. When it comes to the employees they claim the problem is of performance. When it comes to the government the claim is that actually jobs are being created not destroyed. When it comes to investors they proudly declare that they are moving to the non-linear business model where people will lose jobs. When it comes to the press they claim that they are victimised by Trump. With the off -shore model, much of the execution work is taking place in India. Job cuts started well before trump was elected and are not the reason for crisis. F.I.T.E calls out the blatantly contorted stories that are conveniently re-packaged depending on who is being addressed.
Let us now talk about unions. Over the last 2 months we have received on average 400 phone calls and messages per day from distressed employees. We therefore, possess a large dataset when it comes to layoffs and workplace harassment. Given our experience it is hard to sustain the allegation that nobody is supporting us. People reach out frequently, but cautiously. Mr. Pai claims that headlines about layoffs are encouraging hype and fear-mongering. We however, have first hand experience about the culture of fear promoted by companies. We are dismayed by how fearful employees are too speak up and the blatant scare tactics being used to prevent employees from speaking up. Indeed, Mr. Pai’s states that employees who attempt to safeguard their jobs through collective action will not find employment. This is nothing short of a threat. This is what fear-mongering actually looks like.
Again we call out the industry’s hypocrisy. What is NASSCOM if not a union? A union that represents the interests of the companies and lobbies the government. Why is “employer activism” permissible but not employee activism? Are only companies allowed to seek government support but not employees? Let us remember that the IT industry has received tremendous support and benefits from the government by way of tax breaks, subsidies land and infrastructure and well as the permission to violate labor laws. All this has been gifted to the industry in the name of development and job creation. These perks were not given to the industry so they can hire citizens of on-site locations (which is what they are doing). Surely, now that the industry is cutting jobs these benefits should be revoked. We live in a time were the welfare state exists for companies but not citizens!
To the government we say: Prevent the social turmoil that will ensue if IT companies continue will there agenda to downsize. Represent tax-payers, voters and citizens.
To the media we say: please hold companies accountable and expose their wrongdoings.
To the employees we say: come, join us. Stand up and speak out against ill-treatment and fight for your source of livelihood. Refuse to resign. Submit petitions to the labor court. Take action.
Article link : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/it-companies-may-cold-shoulder-btech-only-techies-in-future-says-mohandas-pai/articleshow/59035322.cms?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ETFBMain&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Forum for I.T. Employees (F.I.T.E)