Support for Indian ICT workers

12th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2007, BRUSSELS - In Bangalore in southern India, the Belgian socialist white collar union BBTK has just launched a new project in the information technology sector. VRT's Karin Strobbe has been to India to find out more.

12 November 2007

BRUSSELS - In Bangalore in southern India, the Belgian socialist white collar union BBTK has just launched a new project in the information technology sector. VRT's Karin Strobbe has been to India to find out more.

The initiative is being taken together with the ITPF (IT Professionals Forum), an organisation that unites workers in India's ICT sector. The project will run for five years and is being funded by the Belgian union and the Belgian International Development Ministry.

Erwin De Deyn, the President of the Belgian white collar union told VRT's Karin Strobbe that BBTK has been cooperating with the ITPF for four years now.

The two organisations exchange information about developments in the IT sector both in Belgium and in India.

The Indians are able to alert the Belgians when Belgian companies start outsourcing their production by having software produced in India.

A different approach
The ITPF is not a trade union in the Belgian sense of the word.

Karin Strobbe tells us that the word "trade union" often has a negative connotation in India and that often, as is the case with the ITPF, employers and employees work together in the same organisation. ITPF's new President is Mr Tripathi, the CEO of a large company in the Indian building sector.

He also runs a big consultancy firm that advises businesses.

For Belgians, this is a rather strange combination, but in India this is quite normal.

There people think that employers and employees should both work together to build a better society.

Mr Tripathi says that the aim is to make employees more productive and to ensure that they get better training.

If a business makes a profit, the employees should also benefit.

Mr Tripathi insists that this means employers should take the necessary care with their employees: ”you should make sure they feel good and can say: the company where I work is also my company". In the Indian ICT sector 40% of the white collar workers are women.

This is a very high percentage in a country where women still face many emancipation issues.

In Bangalore Dr Ramani has set up a Women's Committee. It's called the WITS and their motto is "Empowering women, transforming lives". Do women in the Indian IT sector face special problems?

Many young engineers hail from places that are very distant from Bangalore. They live in small rooms far away from family and friends. This can often lead to depression and stress. Colleagues are often rivals rather than friends.

Women who live closer often have to juggle their job with demanding family duties. Indian society is often very hierarchical and this can make it difficult for women to find their way.

Dr Ramani hopes that the WITS will be able to help coach women, organise training courses and allow its members to network.

Her message is clear: women should be able to fulfil their ambitions and make their way in the world.

[Copyright Flanders news 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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