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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”