Unión Informática’s legal accomplishments at IBM

Since its inception, Unión Informatica has moved towards defending the rights of IT workers through legal means. In response to frequent inquiries on the matter, we’ve decided to publish a few recent accomplishments.

Being IBM a corporation with severe irregularities in regard of labor conditions, several employees are affected by its internal policies. However, we’ve been able to act in different ways to intercede in favor of IT workers, with successful results.

Case #1: Layoff prevention

I.H. has been an IBM employee for about 10 years, working at Martinez offices since the beginning. Due to economic and family issues, he had the urge to move to San Luis province. Knowing that, I.H. asked to keep his current job in telecommute mode. His manager approved the change, arrangements were made, and I.H. started working remotely from his new town.

However, after some time of working that way, he suddenly stopped receiving assignments, without further explanation, his Work Item on Claim was tampered with, and at the same time, he received a lot of pressure regarding coming back to Buenos Aires. I.H. contacted his pairs there, who replied that they «acknowledged that he had been fired»

Knowing that a layoff was a concrete possibility, I.H. contacted Unión Informática’s Organization department. They thoroughly gathered all the case’s details, which were later sent to the Legal Assistance department. In view of the seriousness of the situation, to prevent any unlawful action from IBM against I.H., and to leave a written record of the case, a registered letter was sent calling on IBM for task assignments and observance of current labor conditions.

The company replied right away. I.H. received a response letter, his daily tasks were assigned back, and he’s currently working for IBM from San Luis.

Case #2: Harassment and arbitrary changes protection

N.R. is an IBM employee from Olivos offices, and upon the final stages of her pregnancy, she went on the legally allowed maternity leave. After finishing that period and coming back to her job, she started to be harassed by her managers. They tried to force her into new working hours very different from her previous ones, incompatible with her new family life. They asked her to stop commuting Monday-Thursday on regular working hours, and start working on Sundays, between 3PM and 1AM, among other changes.

We want to make it clear that every employer has the right to organize and manage the work of his employees, legally known as as Ius Variandi. However, this rule has limits that prevent turning it against the worker. Changes can’t be arbitrary, should obey to a tangible reason, and should not cause any moral or material damage, or it should be compensated appropriately.  None of those conditions were fulfilled in this case.

N.R. contacted the Legal Assistance department to report the issue. Unión Informática immediately contacted her managers, asking them to stop with this arbitrary persecution. After a few days and without additional steps, they mended the situation, honored the original contract and stopped the persecution.

Case #3: Inadequate Category Correction

M.B. is an IBM employee from Martinez offices, she’s been working in coordinating her team’s work for more than a year. However, the company never reported that position change in her check stub, so they never legally admitted the experience and knowledge required for it. For months, M.B. asked her manager for that change, but didn’t get any fulfilling answer.

M.B. contacted our Legal Assistance department. Considering that she hadn’t reached any solution through her manager, we decided to go through formal notifications, consequently, a registered letter was sent calling on the company to normalize the situation. After a few days, M.B. was informed that her current position title will start reflecting on her check stub.

Nowadays, M.B. keeps demanding to the company about other irregular labor situations to be corrected.

Case #4: Hiring Subcontractors

Outsourcing or «subcontracting» are frequent forms of labor fraud, since they allow companies to reduce workforce-related costs. An example of subcontracting happens when a company like Adecco hire employees to work at IBM, who get assigned key IBM tasks, work at IBM offices, report to IBM managers, but their salary is paid by the subcontractor. This way IBM pretends to avoid direct legal responsibilities towards these employees with, consequently, inequity in salary and benefits between subcontractors and formal IBM employees.

This was the scenario for Pablo Dorín, Unión Informática’s Secretary-General, and Rodrigo Cabrera, Unión Informática’s Member at IBM, both subcontracted through Adecco. They’ve requested their corresponding managers to be actually hired by IBM, on several ocassions, without any positive outcome. Later on, both Pablo and Rodrigo sent a registered letter demanding to be formalized as IBM employees. The company replied right away acknowledging the situation and hiring both employees. Differing from the usual process, they haven’t been asked to resign from the subcontractor first. Also, their seniority while working at Adecco was fully honored.

We encourage all IT workers to contact us upon harassment situations o labor irregularities, in order to legally proceed with their demands. In cases like the ones we presented, a solution may be achieved with a quick and simple process, without the need of time-consuming legal battles. Moreover, demanding for rightful labor conditions help everyone else to hope for a better workplace, where everyone is treated equal.

If you are in a harassment situation, or there’s irregularities in your labor environment, and you’re willing to demand for a change, please contact our Legal Assistance secretary in the Legal Assistance Form. We can give you advice about standing up for your rights.

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