Strike hits IT industry

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Wednesday, 25 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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KOLKATA: The growing call centre business and the IT expansion boom is supposedly the state government's smartest calling card. But it took just one more bandh to rip off the mask of promises and assurances to the call centres and the IT industry, reports Economic Times.

More than 50 per cent of call centre employees couldn't make it to work on Tuesday. The other half who did pick up phones to keep the international call lines burning were stretched to their limits, having stayed overnight to beat the bandh and service several international clients.

Many call centre employees will spend close to 48 hours before going home. At the end of it all, it's not just they who'll end up with frayed nerves, but also call centre and IT businesses who were promised government support and protection for trouble-free business.

After Tuesday's experience, the effort to protect Kolkata's position as an important offshore centre for outsourcing will be considerably weakened.

On February 3, the day the Trinamul Congress called a 12-hour bandh, the chief minister had said, We have taken care to ensure the IT sector operates normally. We will also ensure the Special Economic Zone functions normally during all subsequent bandhs and strikes.

It took less than a month to expose the hollow claim. Most top honchos in the huge employment-generating call centre business said this bandh was the last thing the state needed at this juncture.

It will just reinforce the perception problem the state has been trying to rid itself of, Cognizant Technology Solutions vice-president Siddhartha Mukherjee said.

On the streets, Citu men ripped off laminated stickers given to IT employees. Most IT companies chose the easy way out. They just declared their offices closed.

The only people exempt from enjoying the forced holiday were employees with urgent delivery schedules to meet. Who gained? No answers. Who lost? Kolkata.

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