Kerala - IT Workers Exploited
Uday*, a network engineer with over 5 years of experience was excited when he got an offer letter from a US firm in Kerala. After all, he had cleared the written test and the interview. However, while joining he was asked to sign an agreement which said ‘no pay for the first 3 months as a Trainee and after that Rs.7000 per month’ on confirmation. Getting a job in Kerala is difficult so he decided to take the offer. During that period he worked like a regular employee in the night shift, while attending training sessions during day. End of the 3rd month he was confirmed with a gross salary of Rs.4500 per month, much less than the promised amount. He is one of the 10 engineers with Cisco and or Microsoft certifications who joined Datasoft Networks, Kochi in December 2005. They are into IT enabled Services and Offshore Web support service. This month the offer was hiked to Rs.5000 pm.
This is just one example where some IT companies recruit experienced people and get free work done keeping them as ‘Trainees’ for months. After that they are regularized but paid much less than promised. This used to happen in old economy industries, but now the trend is happening in many BPOs & smaller IT companies. It’s nothing but cheating, and sheer exploitation as the firms know there is surplus manpower and jobs scarce in some States.
Some years back; even Infosys had temporary staff in the HR department for months who were made to work 12 hours a day and given a paltry Rs.4000 pm all inclusive.
Another trend is asking for a lump sum amount as deposit while joining. IVL, the Indian subsidiary of the German company enjoys the prestige of being a good and decent company in Tiruvananthapuram Technopark, Kerala. New recruits have to deposit Rs.2.5 lakhs while the salary offered is Rs.7500. Some time ago, a Networking company there was asking for a security deposit of Rs.2 Lakhs for a pay offer of Rs.5000. When last heard, it had closed shop.
Then there are companies who take money for training. In a leading medical transcription company in Bangalore, Spheris, new recruits have to pay Rs.3500 as training fees. Earlier this was Rs.25000. After the training period the employees start off with a salary of Rs.5000 pm.
The firms say this cover only part of the training costs and attrition rates are high. The point is most of these companies bills their customers in USD but when it comes to paying their employees in INR they are stingy. Most of the time the employees are helpless as there is always the fear of getting sacked if you raise your voice. The mainstream media seems to have turned a blind eye to this issue. Hope the concerned authorities will take up the issue and take action on the erring companies.
*name changed to protect identity