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

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

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

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.