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Hi-Tech Consultants or Coolies?

(Pic: A man supporting a tee with a slogan – 8 Billions Profit are not enough to preserve my job)

KOLKATA: Call it a better work ethic or business necessity caused by the rupee appreciating against the dollar. IT major IBM India has made some of its departments in Kolkata follow a six-day work week since October. The practice is likely to continue till December.

Sources said affected employees have not been given the explicit reasons for the changed work schedule except being vaguely informed that it is to counter the spate of holidays in the festive season and stoppages caused by bandhs. Rupee appreciation, however, was not mentioned as one of the reasons.

IBM, though, denied that there has been any deviation from its normal 5-day work week in any of its departments. “IBM India continues to have a five-days working policy. There is no change in company-wise policy,” a company spokesman said.

Although it has now become pretty routine for IT companies to work an occasional Saturday to make up for a workday lost on account of a bandh, no company has ever resorted to this step for a prolonged period.

Of late, IT companies – who have always won orders from clients by pitching their cost competitiveness – have come under tremendous pressure following the rupee making giant strides against the dollar, as costs have gone up.

The problems being faced by the US economy, following the subprime crisis there, have further compounded the woes of IT companies here. The US is the biggest market for domestic IT firms.

IBM India is the second-biggest exporter from the city’s software technology park (STP). Sources said IBM’s decision could raise the possibility of other big IT firms in the city also making some of their staff work on Saturdays. Until now, TCS, Cognizant and Wipro have not extended the work week schedule for any of their departments.

While TCS is the city’s biggest exporter, Cognizant ranks number three. “We have no plans to make our employees work six days a week,” a Wipro spokesman said. Wipro Technologies had kept its Sector V office closed during the bandh on November 12.

DO these execs and employees get over time? Forty hours is considered regular man hours in a week in US (India?). People sometimes usually end up working more but the law clearly states that anything above 40 is over time and companies need to pay additional money for that.

When the Rupee was weak ($1 = Rs. 50), no Indian employee was told you can have the day off since Rupee has a profitable exchange rate against Dollar. Now that Rupee is becoming stronger ($1 = Rs 39.50 est.), do these companies have a right to make their employees work longer hours?

    One Response to “Hi-Tech Consultants or Coolies?”


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