A May Day Parade was organised under the aegis of the Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees’ Union (KITU). The participants marched from the Bangalore Town Hall to Freedom Park, all wearing red, displaying their strength and solidarity to mark International Workers’ Day.
Interestingly, KITU is the country’s first union of information technology (IT) employees, and is backed by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. Unions were never encouraged within IT companies till recently, as their clients usually come from the US, Europe and other countries, and the existence of employees’ unions, it was believed, would only make clients apprehensive, and adversely affect business. However, in 2018, the Labour Commission permitted the formation of the Karnataka IT Employees Union, under the Trade Union Act, 1926, and Karnataka Trade Unions Regulations, 1958.
Unlike the factories, the IT sector is very liberal and relaxed. However, when it comes to cases of mass layoffs, there is a need for unions, such as KITU, to come forward and help obtain justice for IT employees.
Having started with a mere 250 members in 2018, KITU has a long way to go, especially considering the fact that the city of Bangalore alone is home to about 15 lakh IT/ITeS employees. After all, there is strength in numbers. If KITU is to create an impact and possess the power to negotiate, it has to expand in terms of member base.