The red brigade's call for forming trade unions for BPO employees was cold-shouldered by the $5.2 billion outsourcing industry, even as a research firm welcomed it.
A week after the CPI (M)-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions mooted that workers unions be formed to protect BPO employees rights, the Call Centres Association of India on Friday vetoed the idea, saying "International business has no place for such unionism." "It would definitely hamper India's image as one of the most favourite IT and ITES investment destination," said CCAI president Sam Chopra.
But the Left's call was favourably received by a top executive of global consultancy firm, Gartner, who termed the demand as a sign of the Indian BPO sector attaining maturity. "Indian BPO sector has reached its pinnacle. Union formation is always observed when any industry reaches its peak. This will bring more advantages to the sector, which is criticised by anti-outsourcing lobby of the West," said Gartner Group vice president and chief of research Craig Batty. Such a workers' cohesion would also help companies cut the high attrition rate -- which is around 40 per cent -- as employees would feel more secure with the thought that unions would fight their battles, he said.
But Wipro's BPO Solutions CEO TK Kurien felt that "Union memberships across the world have declined as more and more educated employees are absorbed in the organisation and the youth seek upward mobility." In an industry notorious for its high attrition rate, Kurien felt that unions would fail to "maintain their size and achieve critical density."
The industry, which contributes 4.5 per cent to the country's GDP, currently employs over 3.5 lakh employees and is expected to add over 80,000 in the days ahead.
Last week, CITU leader M K Pandhe had proposed forming a trade union to protect the rights of the BPO employees, alleging harassment by employers and citing lack of a legal redressal mechanism. He had also urged the central government to formulate a special labour law for the IT and IT enabled sector.