FITE, which was formed by disgruntled IT workers to prevent large-scale layoffs in the sector, hailed the withdrawal of the termination letter to a female employee that has been challenged in a labor court in Chennai. The ‘Forum for IT Employees’, a semi-formal organisation that uses social media extensively for propagating its stands and attracting followers, also emphasized that the Madras High Court has only partially closed the case.
The dispute about whether a software employee can be counted as an industrial worker under the traditional labor laws will continue to be open, FITE said.
“The Justice ordered the closure of the case but kept open the disputes related to workmen category and other arguments raised by the petitioner in the writ,” it said.
TCS and other IT companies maintain that that software analysts cannot be included in the definition of workmen as prescribed in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
If the High Court rules in favor of the IT workers, it would be a major blow to IT companies in India. The rules under the Act say that workmen cannot be laid off as their employer wants, but such layoffs must follow the ‘last in, first out’ order.
If the definition is interpreted to include IT workers, it may open a pandora’s box as labor laws in India are restrictive when it comes to layoffs.
“More than a dozen FITE members affected in TCS terminations filed a case under the Industrial Disputes Act in various Labour Commissioner Offices across India. Few of them have also filed the writ petitions in the appropriate High Courts,” said the forum.