Globalization and Trade Unionization: a Study of the Information Technology Industry

Priyanka Dwivedi

Research Scholar, Dept of Women’s Studies, Bangalore University. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF


Globalization made inroads in India with the New Economic Policy of 1991, which was introduced with the goal of making Indian economy market oriented and expanding the role of private and foreign investment. Since then, the forces and factors of globalization have had a bearing on each segment of the economy. One of the most spectacular influences has been the growth of software industry in India. The remarkable growth of Information Technology industry which started in the mid-1990s after the introduction of LPG policy continued unabated. The software production which was almost non-existent in the early 1980’s generated headlines and hyperbole in both business and politics with the industry sustaining annual average growth rates of 30 to 40 percent in both revenues and employment.

Indian IT industry has carved a niche for itself in the international arena with its global offshore delivery model and competent workforce. The rapid expansion of research and development (R&D) and the fast accumulation of IT skills by university graduates created both local demand for IT usage, the knowledge base to supply it, and a positive attitude toward this nascent industry. In 2017, about 3.9 million people were directly employed by the IT industry. A massive pool of workforce equipped with the required skills provided comparative cost advantage to the Indian IT industry. To facilitate the growth and development of the software industry, labour laws were simplified and made flexible which definitely provided a congenial environment for this sector as it grew by leaps and bounds.

The flexible labour laws that were gifted to the industry have been gratifying the employers at the disadvantage of the IT workforce. The labour policies became unfair to the extent of guaranteeing no job security with flexible dismissal practices. Employees thus have had an array of unsettled demands due to which have warmed up to the idea of trade unions in recent years. However, there has been a reverberating voice of employers and associations against the formation of trade unions in the IT industry.  The sector perceived the attempts to form a union as having negative impact on the outcome and productivity and thus, efforts to form association have been curbed time and again by the IT lobby. The right to form association is guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The right to association, right to collective bargaining; including the right to strike also constitute the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of which India is a founder member. Welfare of employees cannot be overlooked for an industry which has had an unparalleled impact in the growth and development. In the long run the repugnance to the employee demands and international labour standards can be serious trouble for Indian IT industry…Full Text PDF