In a breakthrough in the IT sector, Karnataka government has acceded the registration for Karnataka State IST/ITES Employees Union (KITU) under the Trade Union Act, 1926 and Karnataka Trade Unions Regulations, 1958.
By this, KITU became the first registered IT employees union in the state.
The first general body meeting was held on August 20 which elected a 14 member executive and 7 member office bearers. Amanullah Khan, who is also the president of All India Insurance Employees Union was elected president and Vineeth Vakil the general secretary of the union.
The union members presume that employers are now bound to listen to the organisation and they can represent the employees to the government, officially.
Vakil told Deccan Herald that not many organisations in the IT sector in India are registered. "There is one in Maharashtra exclusively for graphic designers and another union in Kerala for the employees of the government's IT programme. But nothing covers the largest domain."
The process of registration began soon after the general body meeting. "To register, the details including payslip and appointment letter of 7 applicants need to be submitted along with 100 members' employment details. That was the biggest challenge," Vakil said.
The immediate goal of KITU is to spread the union in the 'IT hub of India' where they anticipate almost 15 lakh people are employed. The current membership of the union is 250.
The organisation has several demands to put forth to the companies and the government. It includes fixing the minimum wage at Rs 18,000 which is the demand of many trade unions including CITU. "Currently, there are people who work for Rs 8000 per month," says Vakil. "The job creation is less while the number of graduates is increasing," he added.
KITU also wants the state government to withdraw the exemption provided for IT companies from the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central Rules 1946 which allows them not to publish the basic details including working hours, transfers and providing service certificate. The act is expected to be revised in 2019.
Apart from this, there are individual cases like terminations and denial of maternity leaves. "An employee was made to sit idle for 6 months after recruitment without salary only to get terminated when he questioned," says Vakil. They took the case to the labour court when he approached KITU and the case was settled by providing him with the due salary and the relieving certificate. A similar case is pending in the court.
In the case of maternity leave, government employees are allotted 6 months while IT companies gave their staff only three months relief. "When we approached the labour commissioner for one such particular issue, he made it clear that IT employees are entitled to 6 months leave, but companies allow them only 3 months," Vakil said. The issue is yet to be resolved. Larger issues like layoffs are also on the union's agenda.