The state government of Karnataka issued an ordinance in July to amend the Industrial Disputes Act, the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, and the Factories Act to reduce the employees’ strength under the cover of making up for the losses in the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the Industrial Disputes Act the threshold of employee strength over which the organisation needs to seek the approval of the Government in cases of retrenchments, layoffs or closure is being increased to 300 employees because of which nearly 90% organisations would lose the employee protection provided under the act. Although the ordinance was rejected in the Legislative Assembly by 26 votes against it to 14 in favour, the state Government has advised the government to re-promulgate it as an ordinance.
Not only these amendments are backward in terms of reducing the strength and collective bargaining power of the employees but are being re-promulgated in an undemocratic manner and the members of the Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees’ Union (KITU) were well within their democratic rights to protest against it. Today, Oct 3, 2020, the General Secretary of KITU, Ullas C and the Secretary Sooraj Nidiyanga were arrested while peacefully protesting against the same near Raj Bhavan in Bangalore.
The All India IT and ITES Employees’ Union (AIITEU) stands in solidarity with the Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees Union’s right to protest and strongly condemns the police action of arrests of the General Secretary and Secretary of KITU. We also condemn the re-promulgation of the anti-Labour ordinance which leaves a number of IT and ITeS employees in the state in a free hiring and firing zone and calls for a united resistance on the attack on employee rights.