Technology

HCL America denies US labour board allegation that it is shipping jobs to Poland

Mumbai: HCL America, the US subsidiary of India’s third largest IT services firm HCL Technologies, has denied shipping off jobs at client Google to Poland.

HCL America is a contractor for Google in Pittsburgh and delivers technology services for the internet giant.

Last week, the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) sought a response by October 19 from HCL America on complaints that it was violating US labour laws.

The US federal agency said the company had been transferring work to non-union employees in a facility in Poland and refusing to bargain with a HCL workers’ union, under which 80 employees have organised themselves.

HCL America has close to 20,000 employees in the United States, according to the company.

“The allegations are without merit … We are an equal opportunity employer. We take the concerns of our Pittsburgh-based employees seriously. We want to reassure our staff in the US and worldwide that we are committed to their professional growth, including providing fair compensation,” a spokesperson for HCL Technologies told ET in an email late on Monday.

No work has moved to Poland from Pittsburgh, the spokesperson said, adding that it was a global company which hired continuously across the world.

Google did not respond to ET’s queries till press time Tuesday.

The NLRB had certified the union as the “exclusive collective-bargaining representative” of the unit/employees in October 2019 as per US labour laws, after most of the employees voted to unionise last year. A hearing in the case is expected to begin in February next year.

NLRB has alleged that HCL America “transferred bargaining unit (union) work to non-unit employees”, adding that the subsidiary was also “discriminating” in hiring and, thereby, “discouraging membership in a labor organization” in violation of labour laws.

Joshua Borden, a technical analyst at HCL America who is also on the union’s negotiating committee, accused the company of shifting jobs to Poland during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is clearly a case of moving jobs out of the country, something they are doing right in the midst of a pandemic….The Krakow office has teams that work on exactly the same projects that we in the Pittsburgh office work on, and we collaborate on a daily basis. They are sadly not able to be part of our union, and the company is taking advantage of that fact to attempt to bust our union,” Borden told ET.

Ben Gwin, a data analyst at HCL America for Google and an active union member, said the union “only wants to negotiate a fair contract.”

The unionization of this HCL unit was viewed as a significant development in the technology industry last year, as it was the first time that white collar workers contracted for a large technology giant like Google had come together.

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