Bengaluru: Karnataka information technology (IT) minister Priyank Kharge on Monday said he would take up any demand for formation of trade unions in IT sector for discussion if the workers bring it to the notice of the state government.
“Though this is a subject matter of labour ministry, I am the custodian of IT industry, and I will take up any demand for formation of trade unions in information technology for discussion if the employees of giant IT companies bring it to the notice of the government," Kharge told PTI on the occasion of May Day in Bengaluru.
“After all, the government is here to support all sections of the society.. We are ready to do whatever best we can.. But, before we could address the best part, I have to hear from the stakeholders," he said.
The minister was responding to a query on whether the government planned to allow formation of trade unions in IT sector along the lines of Tamil Nadu and Telangana governments. He also clarified that he has not received any request from software employees till date on the formation of unions.
The state cabinet in October 2013 had taken a decision to exempt IT companies from labour law for a further five years, which was announced by the then IT minister S.R. Patil. The attempt made by the state to bring the sector under the law in March 2013, had caused dread and despair among the software companies, which were just slowly recovering from a global economic slump.
To another question, Kharge said it would be difficult for the government to pitch for formation of trade unions on its own, because IT is a tricky industry, unlike the traditional businesses, where the growth story does not have quick highs and lows.
“Suddenly there is a buzz around dizzying valuations and the next moment the company goes burst," he said. On giving preferential treatment for a relatively stable IT industry, Kharge said, “It (sops or preferential treatment) will not be there forever.. I think everybody understands that.. We have been for decades in this industry, but there is still so much more potential for us to reach."
“Therefore, the industry needs assistance," he said. However, he denied giving preferential treatment to IT industry alone and said Siddaramaiah government is giving all kinds of sops to other industries also. “That we are giving a preferential treatment only to IT, that is a myth. If you look at our industrial policy, we are giving incentives to manufacturing units and other industries. Any company that provides jobs and improves economy, we are here to offer them sops," he said.