“A new job is a better solution than union”
After more than a year of trying, Union Network International managed to convince only about 500 BPO workers to sign up. An overwhelming majority of the hundreds of thousands who work in the outsourcing sector had little time for trade unionists who obviously do not realise the absurdity of trying to cast young upwardly mobile professionals as ‘cyber coolies’.
“I know these young people have a negative image about unions,” says Narayan Ram Hegde of Union Network International, a global alliance of 900 unions. But “these professionals are more like cyber coolies,” he said. “We hope we will be able to convince them over time.” [AP]
As The Acorn has noted elsewhere, ‘cyber coolies’, the term trade unionists and leftist types use condescendingly to describe outsourcing professionals only reveals their contempt for the dignity of labour. And for those claiming to represent the cause of labour that is already a major disqualification.
As for complaints about working conditions, Ruchinder Singh, who works in the southern city of Hyderabad for GE Capital International said he can take them straight to his companyâ€™s chief executive.
â€œWhen my CEO will listen to what I have to say, then why do I need union?â€ asked Singh, who helps customers around the world use specialized software programs. [AP]
6 thoughts on “Cool professionals, not professional coolies”
The “cyber-coolies” arguments is a load of crap, plain and simple. Working conditions, as a rule are _already_ better than what exists in other offices. Computers need to be kept cool, and need an uninterrupted power supply, so the aircons are always on. Most of our work requires Net Access. And for those staying late, free food in the canteen, and a “Sumo” dropping you to your doorstep is an added bonus. What other industry does this for their employees in India. Further, most of the top Software/BPO companies have very good feedback systems in place. (They may not use the feedback they get, but they have it). Further, what is the need to go on strike, or have a bunch of gangsters speak on your behalf, when you can always just quit and join a competitor? At this point, it is an employee’s market, not an employer’s, and the software companies are very aware of that fact. The amount of begging my boss did in an attempt to prevent me from leaving to go do my MBA was almost shameful! The only difference between a union and a bunch of gangsters is….oh wait…there’s no difference. Never mind.
The word cyber-coolie was started by left wing intellectuals who are not keen on free trade. They don’t mind selling their novels, poetry, and silly social analysis of Indian society in western markets but have an issue with people making a decent living while performing support work for multinationals. It is widely known what unions have done to slow economic reforms keeping India in a perpetual under performance mode for the past decade. This is just another step in trying to curb the fast growing BPO market.
It is not just the left wing that uses this term. On some pro-Hindu mailing lists on which I am a silent spectator, this word is very often used. Kind of makes me wonder, if the agendas of both these set of people are often the same.
First of all, a cyber coolie has a job and puts food on the table, so that ain’t a bad thing. Secondly, he actually *works* (gasp!), something that the union idiots have never done their entire lives.
However, let us not be too hasty in embracing “free trade” without understanding the motives and the benificiaries behind it. More often than not, big corporations try to push that concept on an up-and-coming economy (a.k.a. third-world country) to take control of the supply of basic necessities – water, electricity… soon, you’ll be paying a 100 times what you’re paying today for water to Vivendi, a 1000 times today’s price for electricity to Entergy and taking loans from the IMF/World Bank for that, while at the same time, you’re answering support calls for these very companies (and handling their billing)… It’s a vicious cycle.
But, yes, dignity of labour – that’s a distant dream yet.
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