The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tech bosses in staff footsteps
- Union formed to push common cause

After the employees were provided with a political platform for unity, it’s the turn of the information technology (IT) employers to go the union way.

City-based technology firms have decided to come together under an umbrella to push the cause of the industry. The core group, as the union is being called, will lobby with the government to address the concerns of the firms.

“We’re forming the union out of necessity. It is in our interest to address common concerns,” stated Descon managing director S. Radhakrishnan, who will take over as Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry president on Tuesday.

According to industry-watchers, the formation of the Citu-backed West Bengal Information Technology Services Association (WBITSA) for IT and ITES employees and the cloud cast by frequent bandhs have prompted the IT bosses to join hands.

The idea of the union, mooted in a meeting among the firms on November 7, has been discussed with the WBITSA. In fact, one of the core group’s priorities will be to deal with the association. On the agenda are regular meetings between the two bodies.

“Our future depends on satisfying our clients. If we do not meet their requirements or if our business is disturbed, the clients will move away. We have to ensure that bandhs do not disrupt our work. The union will be a platform from which we can address these issues,” said Radhakrishnan.

“We didn’t think we would need something like this. But in the light of recent developments, we have no choice. We’ve discovered that even the government feels more comfortable when it is dealing with representatives instead of a few individuals,” added an industry insider.

The core group will meet in the first week of January to chart its course.

“The discussion will focus on the key issues. We’ll decide on the people who will handle each division. We need to increase our membership. All companies, big or small, will be requested to join the union,” said Radhakrishnan.

The Citu-backed association has welcomed the development. “The importance of organisation has been proved once again. Questions were raised when we formed our association. But the employers are now telling us that they need such a platform for dialogue with us,” said Somnath Bhattacharya, general secretary of WBITSA.

He added that his association would soon sit with the core group and explain their demands to it.“We have 700 members in less than two months. Of them, 200 are IT professionals, 450 are data entry operators and the rest are Group D staff. We have also received 85 online applications for membership. Another 200 hardware professionals are set to join us soon,” claimed Bhattacharya.

State IT minister Debesh Das, too, sees nothing wrong in the employers uniting. “The IT bosses know best what they want. If their interests can be served by a union, why not'” he asked.

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