Skip to main content

India's trade union density lower than Brazil, South Africa; there is tendency to victimize unionized workers: ILO

By Rajiv Shah
In what might sound as music to India's corporate honchos and their political supporters, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has calculated that the trade union (TU) density in India among wage workers, both casual and regular/salaried, has fallen since 1993–94, by 3 percentage points to 13.4 per cent. Worse, the top Union Nations (UN) body, headquartered in Geneva, has further notes, the “density among regular/salaried workers has fallen precipitously since 1993–94, by 17.7 percentage points to 28.8 per cent.”
Pointing out that, on the other hand, the density of self-employed workers “has increased to around 8 per cent, ILO, in its just-released India Wage Report: Wage policies for decent work and inclusive growth, regrets, “Overall, trade union density in India is relatively low compared to other emerging economies such as Brazil and South Africa, which indicates the limited scope unions have to bargain for improvements in working conditions.”
The report says, “Although trade union numbers are quite high in absolute numbers, the tendency to effectively bargain is quite low due to a lack of statutory support to promote collective bargaining in India”, adding, “While unions represent a higher proportion of regular/salaried workers than any other category, the salaried workers comprised only 18.5 per cent of the workforce.”
The report states, “The decline in trade union density among these workers over the past decade shows that a large proportion of them are in the private sector”, adding, this happened despite the fact that “since the opening up of the economy in the 1990s, the trade union movement mounted resistance to major reforms, especially privatization, and in collaboration with consumer and environmental organizations.”
The report agrees, as a result of the resistance to privatization, there were reversals of “the government’s decision to privatize some large companies”, demonstrating “the ability of politically affiliated unions to resist the Indian government’s reforms when they united across party lines”. However, the report laments, none of this “led to an increase in unionization among wage workers”.
Giving reasons, the report says, “Since the economic reforms there has been a tendency towards shifting production to ancillary units or less developed areas where labour is cheaper and unions are almost completely absent, and towards subcontracting and outsourcing.” It cites a survey of 101 firms producing auto components in different regions of the country, which “revealed that only 6 per cent of the firms reported having unions and the workers were dissuaded from forming a union.”
Secondly, notes the report, “Employers have been offering existing union members incentives to leave and non-members incentives not to join.” Thus, “A study involving 447 workplace union representatives of the INTUC, the second largest trade union federation, showed a high level of employer sponsored action to break legitimate unions in the private sector, and many instances of management actively offering incentives to workers to dissuade them from joining a genuine union.”
Thirdly, says the report, there is a “tendency towards victimization and dismissal of union members”, with a study showing that “over 60 per cent of the union representatives in private manufacturing and services – and almost half of those in public services – reported victimization of union representatives by management.”
It adds, “Over half of all the union representatives surveyed reported that workers were dismissed during strikes in the private manufacturing and services sectors. In the automobile sector in the National Capital Region (NCR), workers were reluctant to form a union as they feared that the labour commissioner’s office, to which they had no direct access themselves, would inform employers of their intention and that potential union leaders would be dismissed.”

Comments

Uma said…
IMHO, Indians are not team players. In sports, we do better in single player events than in teams. Only now, our teams are doing better but not good enough. Besides, there is so much interference and mismanagement by the government. Hopefully, things will improve as more and more Indians are travelling abroad: from business to sports, the exposure is more than before.

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.