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incomes and conditions of work. And, thirdly, employment growth in the organised sector has been mostly in the categories of casual and contract labour. On the whole, an estimated 1.3 crore workers are joining the labour pool every year. While 8 million jobs are added to low paying unorganized sectors, 5 million remain either unemployed or join the contingent of casual workers.
Working Class under Intensified Attack
13. Intensified exploitation of wage labour takes place in several ways. While extraction of relative surplus value is enhanced by introducing latest high-speed plant and machinery, effective working hours are extended by various means – for example by cutting down and strictly monitoring recess periods available to workers – to squeeze more of absolute surplus value out of the workers’ toil. Secondly, casual/contract labour is extensively used even for permanent jobs to reduce the wage bill. Though illegal, this is easily done thanks to the existence of a large and growing pool of industrial reserve army, which also serves to depress the general wage level. Thirdly, pay commissions and bipartite/tripartite wage agreements are being increasingly delayed, subverted and even scuttled to erode real wages or keep them stagnant.
14. Privatisation of PSUs and semi-government undertakings–piecemeal/backdoor, if not outright – has become more extensive and rapid than ever.
It is not only pushing concerned workers and employees into an uncertain future, but leading to immediate job cuts as well as reduced pay packets and worse working conditions. The government of India has already closed down 7 PSUs and even as it talks of reviving other ‘sick’ PSUs, employees of eight PSUs under the Department of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises have not received their salaries since October 2012. The state must be held accountable for payment of regular salaries and wages in all PSUs and for making sure that the Payment of Wages Act is not violated by any enterprise, public or private.
15. Apart from SEZs, new industrial zones like the Gurgaon-Manesar belt of Haryana, Rudrapur and other pockets of Uttarakhand, and Sriperumbudur belt in Chennai are being converted into “no-trade union zones”. Registration of trade unions is denied and workers are debarred from forming or joining trade unions. Even in the organised sector with long-established trade union culture, the management often refuses to recognise the popular militant union and grant recognition to pro-management pocket unions.
16. Curbing industrial democracy with special focus on denial of hard-won trade union rights has thus become a most widely used political weapon in the hands of capital for holding down its class adversary, so that the latter cannot rise in organised resistance. These issues and the associated question of
dignity of labour have therefore emerged as most important concerns of the working class movement today.
Flashpoints in Workers’ Resistance
17. Recent years have been witness to frequent joint national campaigns of central trade unions and federations. Even the TU centres owing allegiance to the Congress and the BJP have been compelled to join these campaigns under pressure of the masses of workers. The coming together of all trade unions whether centrally or on a sectoral basis in joint actions is a characteristic feature of the present phase. Such pan-union unity can and must be utilised not as an end in itself but as a favourable platform to sharpen and intensify class struggle and forcefully assert the united working class resolve to roll back the policies of liberalisation and privatisation.
18. Inseparably linked to each other, the auto and auto component industries have together emerged as the most dynamic flashpoint of class struggle in India. Mahindra (Nasik), Sun Beam Auto (Gurgaon), Bosch Chassis (Pune), Honda Motor Cyle (Manesar), Rico Auto (Gurgaon), Pricol (Coimbatore), Volvo (Hoskote, Karnataka), MRF Tyres (Chennai), General Motors (Halol, Gujarat), Maruti Suzuki (Manesar), Bosch (Banglore), Dunlop (Hoogly, Chennai), Caparo, Hyundai (Sriperumbudur) – almost all the well-known auto industry units that witnessed labour unrest in the period from 2007 to 2012.