Due debts that companies have with their employees can’t go unnoticed any longer, and contradicting the constant success stories coming from companies’ directives, worker demands are far from dissipating: they have been materialized in convincing conflicts, putting the companies’ ability to deal with them in doubt. As time passes, it’s notorious that unionism culture takes its place within the IT workers community, and against old prejudices that slowly lose their value, the idea of a “professional employee that doesn’t fight for its rights” is fading away. In concordance, we see how the fear of standing up and demand fair salaries, equal treatment and decent working conditions is getting extinguished.
That’s how several several historic strikes took their place in the IT sector. The first ones were called “isolated incidents” by many, but in 2014 they’re a constant form of demanding, and their tone is on the rise as more and more IT workers from Unión Informática vote for going on strike given management stubbornness on staying put and change nothing. This is the scenario for the first two strikes happening at the same time, and considering current events, unless the situation reaches a turning point, we’re in the way to the first nationwide strike in the Argentina’s IT sector.
Unisys is a fast-paced example case in comparison to what happened in Tata Consultancy Services in 2013, where in just three months things were from total passivity to strike and successful negotiations. But in Unisys, the irrefutable nature of problems within the company was a detonator to decide an organized strike in just about a month.
Unisys is famous for designing and launching the first business computer, UNIVAC. But the situation within walls is quite similar to any other conflict: no matter the “management style”, and since demands are traversal to multinational corporations and small companies, all things considered the result is the same. Just as a quick review, there were several steps before declaring a totally legitimate conflict, starting with a request for debate, an agreement of common problems affecting all employees, a signed petition sent to the company, which was sent again through registered letter.
Corporate fantasies tend to believe that certain problems do not exist as though you just don’t look at them. Companies create internal propaganda apparatuses, in attempts to encourage a shallow sense of belonging, with hopes to divert the attention away from the need of appropriate salaries for jobs requiring a certain level of technical ability. That situation can’t lead to anything but conflicts. As frequent in the IT sector, we’ve confirmed once again that Unisys pay very low salaries, some bordering poverty. The registry of adjustments through an entire year (understanding “adjustment” as a nominal rise in the gross salary, not a recomposition of a worker’s earning power) gives as a result monthly salaries around AR $3.900.- (less than USD $350.-)
Voted in assembly, a strike was agreed, and it’s currently affecting several Unisys customers, including:
- HSBC Group Argentina (Bank – New York Life)
- Call Center, Help Desk, and field technicians
- 37 resources (80)
- QBE Insurance
- Abbvie Laboratories
Naturally, and ignoring the everyday “fire” product of having the vast majority of their employees not working on their assigned tasks, Unisys believes in implementing last-minute strategies, like subcontracting temporary services from other companies, or bringing “anti-strike” employees with fixed-time contracts, sometimes even from branch offices outside the country. Reality shows different, with downtime or latency in provisioning several services, way off the SLA (Service Level Agreement) originally agreed with customers. Just as an example, the average response time for a phone call in the company call-center is 27 minutes. Unisys emergency strategies cannot last, given that nearly all their employees legitimate the strike.
Employees continue on strike with full determination, waiting for Unisys to listen and attend the already discussed demands. Today, the strike starts its second week in a row, and will continue indefinitely. As a final thought, the idea of “An IT worker that fights, is an IT worker that gets its salary back” it’s been emerging, given the recent salary agreements signed by Unión Informática with several other companies. It’s of high importance to spread such news to understand what’s the path for accomplishing such goals. Currently, Unisys workers have been given no other choice that go on strike, and every IT worker is urged to attend.
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