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Karnataka govt to provide legal help to FITE, says State IT minister

Priyank Kharge asked members to help government understand their problems

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

Priyank Kharge
Priyank Kharge

The Karnataka government will provide legal help to and a couple of other IT employees' associations to solve their problems including layoffs, state IT minister Priyank Kharge said on Monday.

"We have assured them that we will pursue their problems legally and have extended legal help to a couple of associations that have come forward," the minister told reporters after members of Forum For IT Employees Association (FITE) met him here.

members held hour-long deliberations with the minister and sought government intervention to stop "arbitrary" IT layoffs and sought withdrawal of its decision to exempt IT companies from labour law, among other demands.

The minister had recently said the government would look into the matter and provide legal assistance if affected or laid off employees approach it like their counterparts in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Telengana.

Asked whether IT captains also will be invited for next-round of deliberations, Kharge said he cannot take a decision without the participation of all stakeholders including employees and employers.

"I have to talk to the employees and employers. I cannot have a rule or a policy, and also cannot take one-sided decision," he said.

Asked if the government has any legal power to intervene in the matter, Kharge said: "We don't enjoy legal power as yet, but that does not stop us to evaluate any changes that might be required. At the end of it, we need the ecosystem to flourish," he said.

Kharge also asked members to help government understand their problems.

"We are trying to understand what exactly they want because there are multiple stakeholders and associations. We requested them to have representation each of these associations, which will help us understand their problems," he said.

Rajesh Natarajan of Bengaluru Chapter said members submitted a petition seeking reconsideration of government's decision to exempt IT companies from labour law and bring it under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act.

Rajesh said the cabinet had in October 2013 decided to exempt IT companies from labour law for further five years.

The attempt by the state to bring the sector under the law in March 2013 had caused panic among software firms, which are just slowly recovering from a global economic slump.

FITE also sought government's intervention to put an end to forced resignations and following of formal procedures and modes of communication by companies, Natarajan said.

He also urged the government to pressure companies to focus on retraining and increasing upskilling efforts instead of laying off employees.

After petitioning Telengana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments, FITE approached the labour commission in Bengaluru to submit a petition in this regard.

First Published: Mon, June 05 2017. 19:18 IST