It is May Day today (Worker’s Day or Labourer’s day, as you would like to call it). Indian employees would be happy, since the weekend comes along with May Day this year, but we forget to realize that some people work 24x7 without even a day off.
When I was a college student, my view of the corporate world was quite different. I was one among the others who had a dream company, a dream career, and I saw myself completely different. I took different types of jobs and worked in different types of firms, from small startups to huge MNCs, but then I learned that I was being cheated, taxed, and treated as a slave.
Sadly speaking, that is the plight of most Indian employees these days. For the worse, most of them fire back at me when I try to educate them about this. My first corporate job was in a big German firm, which just opened its factory in India. There were a few employees when I joined, and some of them are my friends, even till today. I was offered a third party contract (which meant that I would have to work for the company through another HR consultancy). That means I was not directly included under the payroll. However, it was a temporary contract, and I agreed to it, since I was so amused just by the fact that I got a job in such a renowned firm. The pay was too less again (an amount of which was eaten by the HR consultancy)
As time passed, my temporary contract was about to end. Though the company was a German firm, the officials at the top hierarchy for the Indian part of the company were from India. Of course, they had worked previously in some foreign country for a big company, but they were still Indian. When my contract ended, I was waiting to get a permanent job in that firm, but now, I am happy I did not. The factory was quite far away from the city, and I had to travel a huge distance to get to it. More than 14 hours in a day were gone. The rest of the day was enough for me to sleep like a dead rat.
But this was not just the plight of me, it was the plight of 99% of the other employees in the firm. The only people who were at the top of the ‘money chain’ devoured all the money for just making these people slog. I was refused to be paid 3 Lakhs INR per ANNUM while the same firm was ready to spend up to 10 Lakhs per month on an ex-pat’s living expenses itself, let alone the salary.
Who approves all this? The fellow Indian who sits in the chair all day long in his very room equipped with all facilities like a house.
While campaigns like Make in India are one the rise, I am only more scared about the plight of Indian employees. Engineers in India with excellent knowledge are paid lesser than what a daily wage laborer is earning. They know this, yet I do not understand how they digest it. The HR (Human Resource) department is another thing. They act as a middle man to reduce the salaries of these poor employees even further.
Think for a moment yourself. Unless you are than Indian head who tortures people for your living, you will understand what I am talking about. When more FDI is directed towards India, the HR department speaks of job opportunities. It translates to me as ‘slavery opportunities’. Foreign companies come here, invest less, but earn more.
Forget about pay. Let’s speak about employee benefits. Private companies in Europe and America have labor unions to speak up for themselves. What about India? In the same company where I worked, expats had a leave policy which granted them leave for 2 to 3 months. At times, you will even hear them say that they are taking a leave for a year or two.
What happens to an Indian employee when he says that? He is fired. An Indian employee does not only get bad pay, he is also deprived of his benefits. If you are an Indian working in a corporate firm, when was the last time you took a 3 month vacation?
How much does an iPhone cost in the USA? How much does it cost in India? It costs higher. How much does an Apple Employee get paid in the US? How much will an Indian employee get paid here? That’s what I am talking about.
Forget foreign MNCs, the saddest part of today’s reality is that Indian MNCs are much worse. Most so called Indian Software firms are actually offering services to international clients. While they take up projects for a very low price (the reason why the business is running), they again deprive their Indian employees for a foreign client.
I worked in an Indian MNC shortly after I quit my previous job. The main role of the managers here is to literally squeeze the employee and kill him. Though the employees work hard (day and night), especially during the deadlines to finish the project, they get no appreciation whatsoever from both the client, as well as the employer.
Students take up loans to study. The interest rate never reduces. The government collects tax from the companies (tons of black money and blackmailed bribe) and the employees. The tax rates never seem to reduce. Everything increases except an average employee’s salary.
The reason for all this is no one, but the employees themselves. If everyone demands better wages, then things will take a turn. When a foreign firm comes to India, invests here and hires human resource, the HR department and the Indian heads must fight for better wages. But even if they don’t (they never will), the employees still have power.
Let me ask you a question. When a firm looks for an employee for a particular position, they fix a salary, which would obviously be too low. How many people will they interview for the post? 10, 100, 1000, or 10000?
Let’s say they interview 1 Lakh people (which they never will). If all the 1 Lakh interviewees demand a higher wage, the company has no other choice than to choose one. But what do our people do? They accept the job for a lesser wage even than what the company is ready to offer.
India badly needs a Pay in India campaign first. Make in India will bring a 100 foreign firms which will increase the government’s revenue, but the profit for a common man is literally zero.
But if we are going to be dumb, we are going to face a loss forever. We all know that depending on the government is pretty useless, no matter which politician from which party comes to power. It’s high time we stand up for ourselves. When a daily wage laborer knows his worth, why can’t an educated man with a professional degree realize it?
It is high time we open our eyes. Most Indian Employees ate 1000 times more efficient than employees of other nationalities. It is high time we realize our worth.