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Telangana govt to intervene in Cognizant's employee retrenchment row

Senior govt official says the move was independent of any government policy

B Dasarath Reddy  |  Hyderabad 

Cognizant

government on Wednesday said the meeting fixed by one of the joint commissioners of labour over the fears of working with Cognizant Technology Solutions(CTS) was an independent action within the existing framework of the Central labour laws.

"The joint commissioner of labour(JCL) has acted upon an employees' representation independent of the government as he is empowered to find an amicable solution, which is always desirable, by calling a joint meeting under the Central act. The office of a JCL or a deputy commissioner of labour (DCL) will have the quasi-judicial powers to decide on these matters. This has got nothing to do with government policy related to the IT or any other specific sector," Rajat Kumar, principal secretary, department of labour, employment training and factories department told Business Standard.

In a first ever attempt of mediation over the ongoing row involving the alleged of at the Indian campuses of the US-based IT firm, Rangareddy zone JCL R Chandrasekharam issued notices on Tuesday under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to the management of Cognizant center in DLF IT SEZ and its own campus in Gachibowli, Hyderabad, to attend a joint meeting scheduled on Thursday.

His action came just a day after the Cognizant employees, represented by the Forum For IT Employees(FITE)-chapter, sought the labour department's intervention over what they termed as the forceful resignations and the terminations in the guise of performance ratings allegedly being resorted to by the company management.

However, senior government official Rajat Kumar's guarded response has also echoed the sensitivity of the matter as the governments usually keep away from hiring and firing practices adopted by the IT

A three-page representation signed by the Cognizant urged the department to order the CTS authority to stop such illegal removals and initiate a reconciliation between the management and

The forum has also sought protection for the signatories of the representation against any removal orders by the company.

The FITE has been spearheading the campaign against the alleged of ever since reports of Cognizant planning to remove 6,000 surfaced in the media in March. The Cognizant management strongly refuted these allegations of forceful removals.

The Tamil Nadu labour commissioner had sought clarification from the Cognizant management regarding the petition, which came close on the heels of a series of resignations in campuses. State labour department has, however, initiated mediation process straight away.

"I have called for a joint meeting to find an amicable solution in this matter," said Joint Commissioner of Labour R Chandrasekharam, without disclosing any further details.

Meanwhile, FITE's general secretary told Business Standard that they would also be approaching labour commissioners in Bengaluru and Kolkata, seeking their intervention in the matter.

IT Ministry has been keeping a close watch on developments within the sector, especially since the IT industry's growth is crucial for the state's economy.

Cognizant was one of the few that had announced major expansion plans for after the bifurcation.

Last year the company said it would be investing over Rs 500 crore in to create an office space of 2.25 million square feet in its new 11-acre campus in the Gachibowli IT corridor. Cognizant had also said that it will hire an additional 8,000 in the city. According to the recent reports, close to 18,000 are working across its campuses in

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