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Old March 29th, 2010, 02:58 AM
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Thumbs down CSC under scanner for exploiting Indian IT professionals in Denmark !

NEW DELHI: The Indian subsidiary of the world’s fourth-largest IT services provider, the $16.7-billion Computer Science Corporation (CSC), is

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under scanner for allegedly exploiting Indian IT professionals sent onsite to Denmark.

The accusation comes from a local IT workers’ union, which claims CSC is paying Indian IT professionals in Denmark salaries lower than the minimum stipulated by law.

PROSA — a Danish trade union for IT professionals — raised the issue last month when an Indian IT professional on deputation in Denmark, protested about not being paid the salary promised by CSC. The issue is creating headlines in the Nordic country, which has about 65,000 IT professionals.

According to papers filed by PROSA with Danish investigating authorities, CSC pays Indian IT professionals between 5,000 and 8,000 Danish Kroner (DKK) a month — roughly equal to what the Indian IT workers would get, working in Noida or Hyderabad. (One DKK is equal to Rs 8).

But Danish law states that foreigners must earn at least 31,250 DKK monthly to enter the country through the so-called salary amount rule, which is part of the Aliens Act. “Danish law requires companies to pay foreign IT workers in Denmark a minimum wage of 31,250 DKK, which is roughly equal to Rs 2.5 lakh per month, to enter the country. We believe more such IT companies are involved in exploiting Indian IT workers onsite,” said Hanne Lykke Jespersen, union secretary, PROSA. “The Danish government has already launched an investigation into this matter,” she added.

To give a comparison between the cost of living in Denmark and India, a McDonald’s Big Mac (called Maharaja Mac here) costs $1.5 (Rs 69) in New Delhi. The same Big Mac costs about $5.7 (Rs 250) in Copenhagen. In another comparison, per capita income in Denmark is about $3,000 per month. In contrast, Indian IT workers are often paid even lower, at about $1454 per month (equating with 8,000 DKK per month), going by PROSA’s claims.

When ET asked CSC India to disclose the minimum monthly salary that Indian IT workers are paid when they go onsite to work in Denmark, the company declined to share the information. A spokesperson from CSC India, however, added, that ‘total salaries’ paid by CSC in Denmark are in compliance with the Danish Aliens Act.

CSC India employees have gone to Denmark, like many other countries for knowledge acquisition. Terms of every assignment pass through legal
counsel and are vetted by an external consulting firm on international mobility,” a CSC spokesperson said.

“While overseas, CSC ensures that the total salaries meet the specific country’s statutory requirements on wages as laid down for that country,” she added.

PROSA’s Ms Jespersen, however, said that it is not the first time the trade union has heard of Indian IT professionals being cheated by IT companies. “We has seen such cases several times before, but we have not been able to do anything about them because the Indians do not dare stand up,” she said.

In this case, “the employee had subsequently resigned from the company and was forced to withdraw the case,” PROSA claimed. The union refused to provide access to the Indian IT professional.

The Danish union is jointly taking up the issue in two countries with UNITES — an India-based union of IT-ITeS professionals.

According to PROSA, “the IT professional was given a two-bedroom apartment which CSC claimed was worth 11,579 DKK a month, whose actual rent may not be more than a few thousand DKK. The Indian IT professionals are paying a rent for the apartments to CSC which is at least the double that of normal price.” US headquartered CSC however says it complies fully with the law.

Besides CSC, a large number of global IT companies like IBM, HP, Microsoft have offices in Denmark. Indian majors like TCS and HCL also have centres in Copenhagen.
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