Rasila Raju OP, a software professional, was brutally murdered inside the Infosys office in Pune a week before. The incident has once again brought to public attention the sad state of women's safety in the information technology and BPO sector. The practice of forcing employees including women to work late nights and weekends is widespread, even when it is possible to give them options to work from home. Often, this is forced upon employees in spite of growing safety and health concerns raised by them. The corporate Human Resources departments, which are supposed to ensure fair working conditions, rather resort to reminding the employees of their contractual obligations made at the time of hiring, the interpretation of which stands for unlimited working hours without any overtime pay. Many of these facilities operate in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) where the enforcement of labor laws is scant.

Recently women employees have become all too frequent victims of assaults & other violent crimes that have occurred in the workplaces due to lack of security. As per reports, Rasila Raju was working alone in the ninth floor of the building. Reports says that the act of murder was committed around 5pm but came to light only around 8pm which itself shows the lack of ample security arrangements. Infosys has not learnt their lessons from the previous incident that happened in December 2015 where a woman employed in cafeteria inside the Pune Infosys campus was allegedly raped by two male housekeeping staff colleagues. Such apathetic attitude exhibited by Infosys and any other IT company should be fought against. DYFI strongly condemns the callous attitude of the IT companies towards safety and security of its employees, especially women.

For decades, India’s $150-billion IT industry has operated out of large facilities built on the edges of the country’s metropolitan cities. Be it Electronic City in Bengaluru or OMR in Chennai, which were later swallowed by the expanding metropolises. Hinjewadi is one such Island in Pune. From these quarantined spaces, a legion of white-collar workers serve clients from around the world, operate across international time zones, negotiate projects, and create copious software codes. Outside is the grim reality of mofussil India that has little in common with these silicon oases. In these rural settlements that magically transformed into tech hubs, there is little urban planning and scarce infrastructure. Hinjewadi in Maharashtra is Western India’s main tech hub. Around 3 lakh professionals work in Hinjewadi. Almost every software company worth its salt – Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant, IBM and, of course, Infosys – has facilities here. This is an SEZ area dedicated to businesses and trade, with special regulations and laws that include tax benefits, fast-track government approvals, and duty exemptions. But they are least concerned about the safety of their own employees.

We uphold the observations made by Bombay High Court while hearing the death sentence confirmation of two accused convicted for rape and murder of a BPO employee in Pune in 2007. Division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice PD Kode observed “Companies employing women to work graveyard shifts should ensure their safety. It is the responsibility of the company concerned to ensure that the women employees reach back home safely.”
DYFI demands IT companies and BPOs to implement strong foolproof security arrangements immediately, without any compromises and ensure that fair work practices are followed in workplace. DYFI also demands that the company be held responsible for their negligence and calls upon all youth in general and youth in IT sector in particular to unitedly fight for justice. DYFI is observing 22nd February as PROTEST DAY – “SPEAK UP IF IT IS NOT SAFE”. Email messages demanding intervention from Government in this matter will be sent to Honourable Prime Minister of India on 22nd February, 2017. The email message to be sent will be released on 15th February at Bangalore and will be available in our website www.dyfi.in and fbpage www.facebook.com/dyficec/

Mohamed Riyas

Avoy Mukherjee
(General Secretary)

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 23:08

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