Kolkata, Oct 27 (IANS) Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu Friday said formation of trade unions in the IT sector is a must but the body should function like 'essential services'.
'We cannot take away the right to form unions. There is no doubt about formation of a union but it is not fair to go for strikes all the time in this sector. The union in the IT sector should function like essential services,' Basu told reporters.
'We have already discussed it (the need to form unions) earlier,' Basu said, adding his voice to a controversial issue. Even reformist West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is known for his reservations against the move.
On Thursday, Sports and Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty came out strongly in favour of trade unions in the IT sector, saying that junior level employees were severely exploited while the profits goes to only a handful of top level functionaries.
Chakraborty is a Jyoti Basu protÃ©gÃ© and known to have differences with the chief minister.
The Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), the trade union arm of the country's biggest communist party that rules the state, is moving ahead with unionisation of the IT sector employees in Bengal.
The nascent West Bengal IT Services Association (WBISA) has been formed.
The association will be unveiled in Sector V, the IT hub here, Nov 17 with a rally. The proposed Dec 14 general strike called by the trade unions against the 'anti-labour' policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre would be a test for the fledgling union's strength.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) even suggested that the CITU take other states into its fold so the IT industry in Bengal alone does not suffer or witness flight of capital.
'Bengal should not suffer. If the association is limited to the state, it can trigger a flight of capital. So, the employees' body should gain a foothold in IT and ITES sectors in other states as well to give Bengal a level-playing ground,' said Benoy Konar, a senior member of the CPI-M state secretariat and a central committee member.
But CITU state president Shymal Chakraborty said they do not have much presence in other IT hubs beyond West Bengal.
'Our move is confined to Bengal. I have no idea whether CITU has made an effort to organise IT workers at the central level or at other centres. CITU hardly has a presence there,' said Chakraborty with candour.
'If the IT companies treat their employees properly, then there is no reason for them to be apprehensive,' he added.