Techies on hunger strike for HCL jobs offered to them in 2011

BANGALORE/CHENNAI: Over 50 engineering graduates who were made offers in 2011 by India’s fourth largest IT company, HCL Technologies, observed a hunger strike at Freedom Park in Bangalore on Saturday, demanding that HCL intimate their date of joining.

The engineers have held a series of protests over the past few weeks. It’s close to a year since they graduated and they still don’t know when they would be called to join. The street campaign began, thanks to a Facebook group called HCL Technologies 2012 Freshers. Some graduates travelled from Hosur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Assam and other parts of Karnataka to participate in the protest.

HCL has so far only said it was committed to “have each individual with letters of intent from HCL join us” and that it would start communicating joining dates in August.

The one-year delay has hit some graduates hard, either because they are from families that are not well-off or because they’ve taken loans to pay for their education. Some have been forced to take up part-time jobs that have little to do with their qualifications. “I got a call centre job in Bescom with great difficulty,” said an engineering graduate from Malnad College of Engineering in Hassan.

Another student said she was job-hunting by day and giving tuitions in the evening to meet her monthly expenses. “I’m staying with a relative as I can’t afford to stay in a paying guest accommodation. I’m embarrassed living off my parents, who have to take care of my EMI,” she said.

They are overqualified

Even BPO companies have rejected some candidates as they’re overqualified for the job. “Placement firms told me to hide my percentage. They prefer BSc graduates over us,” said a computer science graduate from Pondicherry University, who scored 82% in engineering.

Companies have generally gone slow on hiring because of the weak economic environment, so alternative jobs for engineering graduates are hard to come by. “We’ve lost the fresher tag. Our juniors will complete engineering in June and we won’t stand a chance then,” said another student.