IT Sector Employees Are “Workers” Under Industrial Dispute Act 1947, Opines C. Srikumar, Deputy General Secretary, WFTU

Union Leader hails the historical judgment of the Principal Labour Court Chennai in case related to TCS

The employees of IT Industry are not subjected to any labour laws of the Country. Mass retrenchment and individual termination of employees are a regular affair in the IT Industry. Many attempts were made in the past by the Trade Unions to organize them, but not much success was made even though here and there some Unions have started functioning.

In this background it has been brought to the notice of that a Labour Court of Chennai has recently given a Judgment / Award which is going to be a mile stone in the case of IT Employees who are fighting against illegal retrenchment and termination.

To find out the details contacted C. Srikumar, a veteran in the Trade Union field and also the Deputy General Secretary of World Federation of Trade Unions. Responding to us on the issue he gave a detailed reporting of the award given by the Principal Labour Court, Chennai. His version is published here for the benefit of IT Sector Employees and viewers of –

The majority of the IT Companies are Multinational in nature and they are earning huge profit and the highly knowledgeable employees are the major source of their income.

However, the outside World only knows that they are all highly paid employees with lot of perks, but the fact is something totally different. These Employees are subjected to all types of attacks in the name of “Rationalization” “Restructuring” “Lean and Thin Organization” etc. The Government which has to protect the interest of the employees of the IT Sector who generate a huge revenue to the country remain as a silent spectator.

Against this injustice, the IT Sector employees have now started organizing their Trade Unions in different states. It’s a matter of happiness that people like me working in the Trade Union movement that recently the Principal Labour Court of Chennai in its Judgment / Award in the case ID No. 34/2016 in the case of Thirumalai Selvan Shanmugam v/s. Tata Consultancy Service Ltd., Chennai upheld the rights of the IT Sector Employees to approach Labour Court and get relief against injustice.

The Petitioner Thirumalai Selvan Shanmugam was appointed as a Assistant System Engineer in the TCS Company on 10.08.2006. The TCS terminated the service of 25000 senior employees and recruited 55000 fresh employees so that the company can pay lesser salary to the fresher’s. The Petitioner also was terminated on the plea of performance w.e.f. 06.02.2015.

Thereafter, he approached the Labour Court praying for directing the TCS to reinstate him with continuity of service, back wages and all other attendant benefits.

The Respondent TCS argued in the Court that the Petitioner is not a “Workman” within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the I.D. Act as he was Assistant Consultant and whose functions are of Supervisory in nature. The Petitioner contested against this argument of the TCS and established before the Court that he is a “Workman” under the provisions of I.D.Act, 1947. The Hon’ble Presiding Officer of the Labour Court, Chennai quoting various judgments of the Supreme Court has come to the conclusion that the Petition is a “Workmen”, since he is doing some leading role along with his main duty the same will not make him as a Manager.

The Court further stated that the Petitioner would come within the definition of “Workman” as defined in the I.D. Act 1947. Thereafter, the Court has also concluded that the termination Order issued by the TCS to the Petitioner also become illegal, and hence it is liable to be set aside. The Court Ordered to reinstate the Petitioner with continuity of service and pay full back wages and all other attendant benefit from the date of his termination from service till his date of reinstatement.

This is a historical judgment and it will give confidence to the IT Industry Workers that the law of the land is equally applicable to them. On behalf of AITUC and WFTU and of course all the Trade Unions, I welcome this judgment, added Srikumar.

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