Fwd: Labour File Latest Issue
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From: Sindhu <edit@...>
Date: Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 6:30 PM
Subject: Labour File Latest Issue
To: Bill Stafford <caokaocao@...>
In This Issue
Editorial: Trade Union Verification: All About Numbers
On 1 March 1924, the Indian Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to introduce a law for registering trade unions in India. The British Indian government prepared and published a draft Bill in September 1924. The Bill proposed that only those groups that complied with certain stated conditions could register as trade unions; and when registered, the Union and its members would receive protection in certain cases from civil and criminal liability. On 25 March 1926, The Indian Trade Unions Bill, 1925, received assent. On 1 June 1927, The Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926, (16 of 1926) came into force and late, in 1964, by way of an amendment (38 of 1964) to Section 3 of The Indian Trade Unions Act the word 'Indian' was omitted from the Act making it The Trade Unions Act, 1926.
Cover Story: Membership Verification of Trade Unions: For What Purpose?
Sharit K. Bhowmik
The recent unofficially released results of trade union verification carried out by the Ministry of Labour have thrown up a few, very significant indicators of the labour movement. First, the verification has shown that trade union membership has increased considerably. This should come as a shock to sceptics who had predicted that the trade union movement was doomed when the processes of economic restructuring, liberalisation and globalisation accelerated after the government introduced its industrial policy statement in 1991.
Article: Trade Unions and Politics in India
It has become a fashion among intellectuals and the mass media to denigrate trade unions as economistic, selfish and oblivious to national, political and social imperatives. Such accusations serve the needs of the neo-liberal regime of the international coalition of industrial and finance capital well. These denigrators also have the temerity to belittle labour in the name of unorganised labour. They know well that the only source of power for the proletariat is organised solidarity; the unorganised workers have to organise themselves before they can get a fair deal. But these 'friends' of unorganised labour appear to be oblivious to this truth and prescribe palliatives that would make these workers endure their hellish conditions longer.
Analysis: Overall Increase and Sectoral Setbacks: Lessons from Trade Union Verification 2002 Data (Provisional)
The Ministry of Labour, Government of India (GoI), recognises Central Trade Union Organisations (CTUOs) as those trade union organisations, the affiliates of which are spread over at least four states and in four industries and have 5 lakh members. Once recognised, GoI gives them representation on various international (including ILO) and national conferences, tripartite bodies, committees, development councils, etc., on the basis of the results of the general verification. The strength of a CTUO is taken to be the combined membership of registered unions affiliated to the Central Trade Unions. The Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) Central, GoI, conducts periodic verifications of the membership of these organisations to determine the relative strength of the CTUOs. A general verification of CTUOs was conducted in 1980, followed by another in 1989 and the latest in 2002.
Article: Depoliticisation of Trade Unions: The Need of The Hour?
Industrial labour in India has never had a voice and choice of its own. It has had voices speaking on its behalf. It has rarely articulated but has been articulated upon. It has rarely organised itself; it has been organised. Indian labour has been a constituency for the social do-gooder, the revolutionary, the callow politician looking for a springboard and the intellectual/academic obsessed with being 'political' (though this trend is on the decline. Labour is no longer fashionable!). Judges, by means of judicial activism, can also be considered as part of this list, though the contemporary scenario may be different. Virtually none of the professionals mentioned hails from the ranks of the working class. Labour has been organised and led mainly by the middle class(es). …………………
Perspective: The International Union Merger of November 2006: Top-Down, Eurocentric and… Invisible?
At a conference in Vienna in early November 2006, many major international and some national trade unions formed a new organisation. Unlike previous such launchings, however, this occurred without any general global upsurge of union protests or expressions of labour self-confidence, and without public knowledge. Although the parties involved talked about the creation of a new international union, the word 'merger' seems rather more appropriate, for two reasons.. ………………
Article: Central Trade Unions: Representing Unorganised Workers In India
This issue should not be subjectively approached, based on the assumptions or opinions of individuals without considerable knowledge of the various stages of the development of the trade union movement in India, nor with a motive of discrediting the central trade unions (CTUs). The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) firmly believes that trade unions are effective weapons of the working class to change the structure of society and the social order. Organising the unorganised is, therefore, a pre-requisite in the struggle for social change. The task is vast and the responsibility enormous..…………
Commentary: From the Old Trade Union Internationals to the New: Commentary on ICFTU/ITUC Congress, Vienna
The final congresses of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and of the World Congress of Labour (WCL) took place in Vienna on 31 October 2006. This was followed by the inaugural congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which includes almost all members of the two former internationals as well as a number of non-aligned national centres. …………
Article The Façade of Trade Union Unity
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) came into being when the Communist Party of India split in 1964 into the CPI and the CPI (Marxist). This led the CPI(M) to pull its unions from the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) associated with the CPI. A few years ago, the CPI Marixst-Leninist Liberation floated its own National Trade Union Centre, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU). Due to the split in the Grand Old Congress Party in 1969, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) lost some of its affiliated unions when Congress (Organisation) got together its unions and floated the National Labour Organsiation (NLO). …………
Article: Trade Unions and Working Class Struggles: Space for a New Initiative
Over the past two-and-a-half decades, capital has achieved an enormous concentration of power — both economic and political. This concentration of power is the basic cause for the progressive breakdown of institutions for democracy, equity and good governance across the world. The trade union struggle at this juncture is, therefore, at a fundamental level, a struggle for greater democracy and equity. It is also a struggle that has to be able to face up to the concentration of the power of capital and its hegemonic influence over the state and political apparatus.…………………
Article: Legacy of National Centres of Trade Unions
A large number of registered trade unions in our country — well over 30 per cent — remain outside the existing Central Trade Union Organisations (CTUOs). The reason for this is the fact that unions in India are divided among these various national centres on the basis of ideology, where most of these centres are controlled by political parties. This division in the movement along party lines and the domination and control by parties have caused considerable damage to trade union unity as well as to working class power…………..
Article: Independent Unions: Walking the Road
The independence of unions has been debated throughout the history of the labour movement. The term 'independent union' usually evokes expectations of innovation that challenge the limitations of the traditional labour movement, and even of the broader social movement. The exact nature of the independence may depend on the contemporary context, but that independence is supposed to generate new possibilities for genuine representation and social transformation.
Opinion: Can Central Trade Unions Represent the Unorganised Sector Workers in India?
This note is being written as a purely spontaneous reaction to the issue. I would earnestly request that it should not be misconstrued as an attack on the trade unions or other bodies but be taken as a serious attempt to raise issues that stand in the way of successfully organising the unorganised. My reactions are based on the experience of co-coordinating two National Campaigns of Construction Workers and unorganised sector workers. …………..
Interview: Trade Union Membership Verification: A Herculean Task
SK Mukopadhyaya, Chief Labour Commissioner
The decision to undertake regular verification was taken with the view of giving representation to the trade unions on various international and national conferences, (including those by the International Labour Organisation) committees, councils, wage boards, etc. The general verification determines the relative strength of Central Trade Unions. The strength of a central trade union organisation (CTUO) is taken to be the combined membership of all the registered unions affiliated to the Central Trade Unions.
Article: Unionisation and Collective Bargaining in India: Contextualising the Disciplining of Labour Space in the Flexibility Regime
The fall in organised sector employment has widely been discussed in India in the context of economic reforms and labour market flexibilisation. Also, the linkages of labour market flexibility to informalisation of labour have been well established in the context of the expansion of informal sector employment. However, the most striking, but often unmentioned, aspect of informalisation of formal sector employment in the name of flexibility is the assault on the right to collective bargaining………….
Article: SEWA's Struggle to be accepted as a Central Trade Union
Manali Shah & Shalini Trivedi
In 30 years of struggle, SEWA has faced many obstacles. During this struggle, SEWA realised that the workers of the informal sector, to which it belongs, are not recognised as 'workers'. When laws are enacted or policy is made, the issues, problems, and difficulties of the workers of the informal sector are not considered. Most especially, the problems, difficulties and issues of women workers are totally ignored. Many a times, SEWA has made representations that whenever issues of labour are discussed, the voice of the workers from the informal sector should also be heard. SEWA was told that because SEWA is not a central trade union (CTU), it could not be called for meetings relating to the policies or laws, or to the Indian Labour Conference held every year………..
Article: Unions and Working Class Militancy: Recent Trends in Gurgaon
Two major issues actively being resisted by workers and their unions in the industrial belt along National Highway 8 (NH8) in Gurgaon are the widespread use and abuse of the contract worker system and the indiscriminate use of Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code to harass and silence the workers. Another threat which the workers are grappling with is the increased privatization of security in the aftermath of the beating up of the workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI) two years ago.…….
Profile: AITUC: The Mother of All CTUOs
Have you ever observed a banyan tree at close quarters? Majestic it stands, with its canopy of branches, from which hundreds of tender roots droop down as if to kiss the earth. The deeper and wider the branches spread, the mother trunk stands more graciously, defying age. Like this giant tree, with its series of new trunks, enclosing a cavernous space and sheltering people beneath, stands the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the mother of all central trade unions in India…….
Tribute: Homage to Comrade Chittabrata Majumdar
Chittabrata Majumdar, the veteran trade unionist and pioneering leader of the Communist movement in India, passed away on 20 February 2007 due to emphysema and lung complications. Comrade Majumdar, fondly known as Chitta Da, was admitted to a private nursing home in Kolkata soon after the 12th All India Conference of the CITU (17-21 January 2007). Comrade Majumdar was 71 and has left behind his wife Sabitri Majumdar, a Member of the Howrah district committee and his daughter Barshana Majumdar, a computer professional.
Labour in Those Years: Recalling the Bombay Textile Workers' Strike, 1982
Babu P Remesh
In the history of industrial conflicts in India, 18 January 1982 is a decisive date because it marks the commencement of an unparallelled, marathon strike of textile workers in Bombay. In the strike that continued for a year-and-a-half, about 250,000 workers of 60 mills participated. The strike challenged the prevailing social dialogue framework in the Bombay textile industry, which had straitjacketed industrial relations in the sector for more than three decades.
Legal Diary: Employment Rights of Disabled Persons
In India, where large masses of physically fit employees in the unorganised sector constantly have to struggle to safeguard their employment rights, the protection of these same rights for physically challenged persons is a distant dream. However, it seems that we are now observing a positive change in protecting the employment rights of the physically disabled class of employees.
Document: Annual Survey of the Violations of Trade Union Rights 2007
This is the first Annual Survey of the Violations of Trade Union Rights conducted by the new organisation - The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The survey depicts the enormity of the challenges before the trade union movement. The 2007 edition of the Survey, covering 138 countries, shows an alarming rise in the number of people killed as a result of their trade union activities, from 115 in 2005 to 144 in 2006.
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