The India Exclusion Report 2016, released by the New Delhi-based Centre for Equity Studies (CES) on 12th May 2017, citing Labour Ministry Data, says that says that employment creation in 2015 plummeted to 135,000 jobs compared to 930,000 in 2011. Even worse, existing jobs, especially in the IT sector, are being lost as thousands of workers were laid off in 2016, and the trend is set to continue this year. In recent months, more than 20,000 workers from large IT firms such as Cognizant, Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and Capgemini have been put on notice and could be fired any time. More than two lakh jobs are at stake due to increasing digitization and redundancy of existing technologies.
The IT monopolies which are laying off their employees do not want to admit that this is a fact and some are even denying that there are unprecedented layoffs, as they do not want to take any responsibility for this condition. They do not want to concede that their profit margins are under pressure and hence they are forced to cut down on their staff in order to survive in a fiercely competitive market. Instead, they are covering up the situation by saying that it is based on ‘performance appraisal’ and in the interest of ‘rationalization’. A majority of the IT professionals who have been asked to leave have more than 10-20 years of experience and include mid and senior level professionals. At the same time, this situation has not stopped those in the top management from drawing professional fees in crores per month.
The issue of job losses goes beyond the IT sector as well due to several factors such as movement of capital from India to countries like Philippines where wages are lower than here, cut back in exports of services due to decline in global trade and the fact that sectors with substantive share in employment – agriculture, construction and manufacturing – have been lagging in growth. India also has the largest number of young people in the world, adding nearly 10 million new workers to the workforce annually.
This spate of layoffs only exposes the ruthless and profit-oriented nature of the capitalist system which hires and fires workers with impunity. The monopolies and big corporations want no constraints in being able to do this and they are ensuring that they are legally protected through reform of existing labour laws in all sectors that will allow them to increasingly hire people on a contract or a fixed term basis.
This is a grave situation for workers who are seeking jobs as well as for those who are employed – all face a risky and uncertain future. The response of the working class must be to increasingly organize as one united force to fight for the right and security to livelihood.