|On National and
|Resolution on Agrarian and
other Rural Struggles
|Working Class Movement:
Context, Tasks and Opportunities
|Intervention in Panchayati Raj
|Environmental Protection and
|People's Progressive Culture
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state, they have kept up the banner of struggle and protests. Most of the ‘recognised’ central trade unions have mobilised little effective support and solidarity for the fighting Maruti workers and AICCTU must play a consistently active role in this regard.
32. The two decades of neoliberal reform have been marked by changes in production processes (from labour-intensive to capital-intensive automated production for example) as well as in the composition of the working class (e.g., large-scale casualisation of labour). The relative importance of different industrial sectors and labour categories has also undergone some changes and so has the nature movement means to of break problems needs the to artificial in restructure each sector. barriers itself In created this and context evolve by capitalism suitable the working ways between class and the permanent workers and others like contract, casual, temporary workers and apprentices.
33. As noted earlier, the post-reform industrial growth in India has been powered by ill-paid contract, migrant and women workers. The share of contract workers in the total workforce in the factory sector increased from 20% in 1999-2000 to 32% in 2008-2009. More and more jobs in the organized public and private sectors are arbitrarily categorised as non-core and
non-perennial and then handed over to contractors. In some cases in Mumbai it has been observed that leaders of pro-management unions have also turned into labour contractors. The 2001 Supreme Court verdict on SAIL has subverted the Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act 1970 by ruling out automatic absorption of contract workers by the principal employer even after abolition of contract labour by the appropriate governments. The trade union movement will have to fight hard for a stronger legislation and strict implementation to defend the interests of contract workers and check the rampant growth of the contract system.
34. The contract workers, who are employed mainly in hazardous jobs and paid a pittance, are of course not suffering silently. In addition to joint struggles with permanent workers, they are independently launching their own movement. A remarkable recent instance was the 44-day strike that began in April 2012 in the public sector Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC). This was the culmination of many years of struggle conducted by a few thousands of contract labourers to win wage parity with permanent workers and regularisation of their jobs. In the absence of any attempt on the part of TUs to mobilise the permanent workers in support of contract workers, they were defeated once again, but not before demonstrating the great potential and staying power latent in contract workers. Thanks to our relentless struggle, more than a thousand contract
workers of Calcutta Tramways Corporation, a state PSU, have succeeded in becoming permanent. In Assam, our comrades have succeeded in organising and uniting contractual workers in the oil sector. In Chandigarh PGI our union representing 1800 contract workers succeeded in forcing a formal agreement accepting the principle of equal pay for equal work but the management is dilly-dallying on implementing it.
35. Key sectors of public service like education and health remain an important source of employment, but the nature of jobs has turned increasingly insecure. From primary schools to colleges, there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of contract-teachers with posts of permanent teachers being steadily abolished or lying vacant. The much-touted National Rural Health Mission which is now being extended to cover urban areas as well, runs primarily on the unrecognised contribution of Accredited Social Health Activists who get a pittance as honorarium and have no security or recognition associated with regular employment.
36. Contract teachers and honorarium-based employees like ASHA have shown great determination to get organised and fight for better wages and improved working conditions. Militant struggles of contract-teachers and ASHA have become an inspiring emerging feature of the working class movement across the country. The notion of