10.02.10 | kl. 12:19 | Aktuelt, Arbejdsmarked
PROSA: CSC exploits Indian IT workers
PROSA believes that CSC Denmark must assume responsibility for the underpayment of the Indians, as the company has received from CSC India. CSC denies having done anything illegal and believes it is reasonable to pay IT specialists 3000 - 5000 Dkr. per month plus a per diem allowance. As long as it is only for a short period of time.
CSC Denmark has over the past three years received around 900 Indians in Denmark to work for a salary of 3000-5000 DKK plus 8,500 DKK monthly as per diem allowance and paid housing.
This is going on even though 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.
This is gross exploitation of the Indians, who virtually live under slave-like conditions and cannot themselves decide whether they want to go to Denmark, states Union secretary in PROSA, Hanne Lykke Jespersen.
She does not believe that CSC Denmark has acted entirely in good faith:
- CSC has claimed a different salary amount to the Immigration Service than they paid the Indians. You is not really innocent, when you write a salary, you do not pay. They have an army of lawyers, so they must have been aware that they were bending the rules, Hanne Lykke Jespersen says.
CSC rejects wrongdoing
CSC denies having done anything illegal. Lars Lundsgaard who is Nordic capability manager of the CSC says:
- We are fully confident that we have a good case and has not done anything illegal. We have just contacted the Immigration Service to be absolutely sure.
CSC allegedly has had its calculation approved by the Immigration Service, but Prosabladet was denied access to see the calculations.
Immigration Service's blessing
Hanne Lykke Jespersen also points out that CSC apparently acts with the Immigration Service's blessing. According to CSC, the Danish Immigration Service allowes CSC to pay the Indians lower wages because these are tax free for up to one year due to a special agreement between Denmark and India. But if the Indians complain about the lack of pay, they risk being sent out of the country by the Immigration Service, because they do not earn enough to stay in the country amount to the scheme, says Hanne Lykke Jespersen.
- CSC - and possibly others - have done this for years without anyone had a chance to uncover it. For if the Indians say anything, they will be sent out of the country. Had it not been for one brave Indian, we would never have been able to uncover it, says Hanne Lykke Jespersen.
Dare not stand up
The story came to light after an Indian employed in the CSC called PROSA, because he did not receive the salary he was promised when he went to Denmark to work as an IT specialist.
He has been paid his Indian salary of just over 3000 DKK plus paid housing and allowance. But the accomodation, which was a small two bedroom apartment, was according to CSC worth 11,579 DKK a month.
In tax-free allowance CSC promised him 550 DKK per day, ie. 16,500 DKK a month. But upon arrival he was only paid 285 DKK a day – little more than half the amount promised.
These amounts thus added up to almost 375,000 annually, which is what a foreigner should earn to be permitted to work in Denmark according to the salary sum scheme, but actually he only got a little more than 3000 Dkr. a month in salary, an apartment few Danes would pay 11,000 DKK monthly for and 285 DKK a day for food.
The case known by PROSA is a single case, where there has been made a mistake, says Lars Lundsgaard from CSC.
- It is such that the Indians make an agreement with CSC in India, and here an error has been made that led to this specific case. It is certainly the only case where it has been under discussion whether we have followed the rules.
He insists that all Indians receive 285 DKK in tax-free allowance per day, ie. 8.500 DKK per month and that it is approved by the Immigration Service.
Hanne Lykke Jespersen says, however, that it is not the first time PROSA has heard of foreign IT professionals who are being cheated.
- PROSA 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, says Hanne Lykke Jespersen.
Lars Lundsgaard, Nordic capability manager at CSC, do you think it is reasonable to pay a highly trained IT specialists 3000 DKK per month in Denmark?
- Now they also get 8500 DKK in allowance. These 8.500 DKK per month of tax free amount may not be as attractive if it is for a longer period, but for short periods of three months which is the period the Indians usually are here, we have assessed that it is reasonable.
He points out that CSC Denmark has no interest in having Indians seated in Denmark too long.
- There is no economic advantage for us to have the Indians in Denmark for a salary of more than 31,000 Dkr. so was never intended that it should be for longer periods.
Quick return ticket
The Indian IT employee who complained to PROSA has an Indian contract which says that if he leaves CSC India within two years after his return, he must pay a penalty of 300,000 rupees - approx. 35,000 DKK - which is a lot of money for an Indian, who earns 3000 DKK a month.
But when he complained about this failure to pay the stated amount, CSC immediately changed the date on his return ticket and he was sent home a few days later.
On his way out of the country, he is very angry and files his resignation. For this reason he must pay the penalty of 35,000 DKK. PROSA has offered to pay his costs if he will go to court, but under pressure in India he has now withdrawn the case.
CSC India will not give him his "leave papers”, which are necessary for him to get another job in India, until he waives all claims against CSC Denmark.
Most are happy
In the radio story on P1 Orientation, which was released last Monday, it emerged that several of the Indian employees of the CSC is not happy about being in Denmark, and believes that it was not their choice to come here.
CSC's Danish management is not happy with this, Lars Lundsgaard says.
- It is a fact we will take up with CSC in India. It is news to us and we look at it very seriously.
Normally, the Indians are here only in connection with the so-called 'Knowledge Transfer', where projects are being transferred to India, he says. But those who have spoken out in P1 Orientation, have extraordinarily been here longer, because the project with a customer took more time than expected.