Karnataka warns IT firms against firing techies amid lockdown



Bengaluru: Taking a serious view of reports of alleged layoffs in this tech city, the Karnataka government on Tuesday warned IT firms against firing its techies due to lockdown, now extended up to May 3 to contain the coronavirus spread.

“As the lockdown since March 25 has been applicable to all sectors of the economy except essential services, all companies, including IT firms, were ordered to shut their offices to fight the virus and ask their employees to work from home,” an official of the state Labour Department told IANS here.

As India’s tech hub, generating two-thirds of software export revenue, Bengaluru is home to about 2,000 global IT firms, including multinationals from the world over, employing about 20-lakh to write software codes or design chips.

“As extraordinary situations demand extraordinary measures, especially when survival of the people is at stake, a nationwide lockdown was imposed since March 25 to break the virus chain and extended it till May 3 from April 15 for minimising the loss of life and business,” said the official.

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationwide addressed earlier in the day, extending the lockdown by 19 days, state Deputy Chief Minister J.C. Ashwath Narayan met 100 honchos of the IT firms and advised them to pay full salaries to their employees.

“As ICT enables most tech firms, especially in software services to operate from anywhere 24×7, the minister told the IT firms to pay salary to its staff for March and April as technology enables them to work from home to maintain social distance,” said the official.

The state government is hoping the Centre’s guidelines to follow the lockdown from April 15 will also apply to the IT sector as its one of the largest sectors giving direct and indirect jobs.

State Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar also warned companies across sectors against sacking their employees as they were staying home in compliance with the lockdown guidelines of the Central and state governments to fight Covid-19.

State Labour Secretary P. Mannivaan also mailed an order to all companies in services and manufacturing sectors, directing them not to cut salaries of their employees or fire them from jobs for abstaining from work due to lockdown, the official added.

Hundreds of employees in the manufacturing sector in diverse verticals are at home due to lockdown and suspension of public transport service.

Source: IANS

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