With the employment scenario in India looking increasingly at risk due to the rise of automation, UNITE – an IT employees union – wrote to the Centre and state governments on Friday about the need for establishing support systems for vulnerable workers, more social security and listed five demands.
In a statement issued on June 18, the Union of IT & ITES Employees (UNITE) referred to a recent report by the Bank of America published on Wednesday. The report said that domestic IT firms in India are set to reduce about three million jobs by 2022 due to robot process automation (RPA) and save about $100 billion in salaries as a result.
It added that Indian IT firms, which employ about 16 million people, will let go of about 30% of the nine million employees – three million – engaged in work requiring a lower skill set.
UNITE cited the World Economic Forum’s report about the future of jobs and the International Labour Organisation's projections that the millions of workers would be displaced as the nature of jobs change around the world. It said the reports indicated that the "displacement of employment" on a "massive scale is not preventable."
It said that lower-paying jobs will be affected and that the "social implications of this rapid displacement are increase in unemployment, reduction in the middle class, the aspiring class, and increase of inequality."
"We believe the role of government in this transitional period is to establish (a) support system for the vulnerable," it said, mentioning the need to provide social security, job security, education for dependents and establishing free reskilling support for the transition.
The union also listed five demands which would help tide over this change, mentioning the need to enforce existing laws, "prevent unlawful retrenchments" and "direct employers to provide in-work reskilling." It said that a welfare board was needed for IT employees which would provide social security during this "disruptive" phase.
It stressed on the need for periodical tripartite meetings between employers’ representatives, the government and employees unions and the need to reduce work hours to six hours a day and the work week to 30 hours. It added that the BPM industry needed strengthening too.
IT industry body Nasscom on Thursday said the sector continues to be a net hirer of skilled talent, and that the top five Indian IT companies were planning to add over 96,000 employees in 2021-22.
The statement had come in the backdrop of the Bank of America report. The association noted that automation and RPA has been maturing in the last three years and but said it led to a net creation of jobs for the BPM sector.
With PTI Inputs