In the two days since an online petition was put up, it has got support from nearly 1,300 people
As Indian IT services companies look to consolidate operations, employees staring at an uncertain future are taking the online route to make themselves heard, filing online petitions, gathering political support and hoping for a re-consideration by their respective firms.
The latest such petition is one filed by a group of IT professionals in Kolkata addressed to Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, asking for greater clarity in the confusion over IT giant Tech Mahindra shutting down its IT services operations in the city.
An online petition titled “Tech Mahindra IT winding up Kolkata Operations. Time to intervene and save jobs” has been put up on change.org, a popular portal for starting online campaigns and taking up issues with different authorities and organisations.
In the two days since it was put up, the petition has got support from nearly 1,300 people.
“The reason we filed this petition was that we want clarity. We are also planning to petition the CM of West Bengal through change.org. There is a fear among Tech Mahindra employees that the entire unit is being shut down, since the past two or three weeks. We don't want industry to move out of the State,” said Sayantan Das, convener of the Information Technology and Services Employees' Forum, which has filed the petition.On July 28, a local Bengali daily had said that Tech Mahindra was looking to wind up operations in West Bengal. This was followed by Tech Mahindra CP Gurnani tweeting an article on August 3 that spoke about the company being bullish on Bengal and going on a major expansion drive in the State.
— CP Gurnani (@C_P_Gurnani) August 3, 2017
Moneycontrol learns, however, that the tweet did little to assuage existing employees, especially in the IT services operations in the city.
Several of them said one of the teams in Kolkata got an email saying IT operations will be moved to a different location and asked for their flexibility in moving to a different location. This sparked off concerns about the future of other teams in Kolkata too.
“We have been asked to be ready to relocate within two months, else we will be released from our projects. CP's tweet and the stories only mention ramping up BPO operations, nothing on IT services,” said an employee who works at the Kolkata office, on the condition of anonymity.
A Tech Mahindra spokesperson, in response to an email query from Moneycontrol regarding the change.org petition, said: “We deny the speculation as reported in a recent Media article, making it amply clear that there is no plan to close our operations in Kolkata. On the contrary, we are fully committed to the City of Joy, as we are growing our customer-centric projects in the state and our forthcoming Center of Excellence for Customer Service & Experience standing as testimony to our objectives.”
Petitions becoming more common in the IT sector
This is not the first time employees have taken to change.org to air their grievances. Three weeks ago, a group called IT Industry Lucknow put up a petition to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh to prevent job losses through the shutdown of Tata Consultancy Services’ Lucknow operations.
The petition has 5,228 signatures till date, and the forum has a target of reaching 7,500 signatures.
In January this year, an individual called Latif Bansal had petitioned the Labour Ministry to “Stop Indian IT companies from forcefully holding employees with 3 months' notice period”, which till date has support from nearly 65,000 people, just 10,000 short of its target number of signatures.There is no clarity on what happens to these petitions once they reach their target signatures, but the amount of support they receive is certainly an indicator of the kind of causes people and I this case, IT employees, care about.