Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries
Edited By Craig Phelan
Unions in India at Critical Crossroads 475
ANIBEL FERUS-COMELO Unions in India at Critical Crossroads 1. Introduction In 1991, the Government of India introduced the New Economic Policies to liberalise and transform the command economy that was in place since India’s independence in 1947 to a market-led economy. Since the onslaught of the economic liberalisation process in India, unions’ attention and energy have been absorbed in resisting attacks in organised workplaces, predominately in the public sector. This defen- sive battle has been accompanied by an unchallenged ascendance of the private sector, fuelled by rising inward foreign investment and the dismantling of employment rights by the state. Unions, which had formerly enjoyed certain privileges in a state-protected system, have been struggling for survival in many ways. At a time when India is attracting much attention on the global stage for its phenomenal rise in economic prowess, the social and political consequences for workers needs to be carefully examined in view of the state of trade unionism in the country. The aim of this chapter is to summarise succinctly the organisational structure, the political culture and the tactics and strategies of the labour movement in India, in order to assess its future prospects. Anibel Ferus-Comelo 476 2. A Brief Overview Early trade unions in India developed at the scale of an entire industry in specific geographical areas, for example, in the textile industry of the cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai (Bombay), or the jute industry of Calcutta. In contrast, the operation of unions today is at the scale of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.