The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Citu enters IT hub through backdoor

Calcutta, Oct. 20: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee may not be aware of it, but the CPM’s labour wing Citu has quietly formed the first employees’ organisation in information technology services.

It has been christened the West Bengal IT Services Association, carefully keeping the word “union” out of it.

The formation of the association will be declared at a meeting in the IT hub in Sector V of Salt Lake on November 17.

Officially, however, it will not be affiliated to Citu, apparently in view of the tension between the chief minister, who wants IT and IT-enabled services to be kept out of strikes and other industrial actions, and the union’s leadership.

In less than a month, sharing the same platform with Citu, the association will appeal to IT employees to join the rally at Brigade Parade Grounds on December 3 in support of the December 14 nation-wide strike against the Centre’s “anti-labour policies”.

“On that day, we will explain what the general strike is all about. However, we won’t impose the strike on IT employees even if they support us. We don’t want to endanger their jobs since many may lose them if they join the strike,” the secretary of the association and Citu state council member Somnath Bhattacharya told The Telegraph today.

“But principally we are in favour of the strike.”

The chief minister is determined to ensure the smooth functioning of the IT sector on December 14.

Bhattacharya said: “The initiative to form the association has been taken by Citu. A core committee of five to six Citu leaders has been set up to expedite the process. We have already got registration.

“Though the (November 17) meeting will be held under Citu’s banner, the association would not be attached to Citu as we want it to be a broader platform.”

Citu state president and CPM state secretariat member Shyamal Chakrabarty is the “chief adviser” to the association while the CPM MP from Dum Dum, Amitava Nandi, will be the president. Senior Citu leader Prasanta Nandi Choudhury will be the working president.

Citu state secretary Kali Ghosh, however, tried to distance his organisation from the association.

“Both Nandi and Bhattacharya are members of our party and Citu. But the union in the IT sector has no link with us,” he said.

Bhattacharya said an association — instead of a union — was formed to make room for all levels of IT employees.

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