ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Rahul Suresh SapkalSubscribe to Rahul Suresh Sapkal

Changes to Labour Laws by State Governments Will Lead to Anarchy in the Labour Market

The suspension of labour laws will intensify informality in the Indian workforce in several ways. Multiple labour market securities in the formal sector like employment, health and safety, skills, and income will either be weakened or destroyed. In these difficult times, the collectivisation of workers is essential to restore stability and solidarity in the workforce to mitigate economic hardships in the post-lockdown period.

Saving Jobs and Averting Lay-offs amidst COVID-19 Lockdown

Despite unleashing a slew of relief measures, the state is grappling to ensure that employers abstain from imposing lay-offs, pay cuts or unpaid leave during the lockdown. Even if the state mandates employers to pay wages without any lay-offs, then, in this context, there is a need to advocate for wider coverage of labour legislation in India. In the short run, fixing accountability on employers for wages and jobs will provide an interim relief, but, in the long run, we need to take financial viability into consideration and provide stimulus wage subsidy.

Labour Law, Governance Reforms, and Protests

Employers and critics of labour regulation have been arguing for the liberalisation of labour laws, and for governance and compliance systems, following the liberalisation of the product market to enable firms to respond swiftly and suitably to fast-changing market conditions. The trade unions opposed this even as the government was seemingly favourably disposed towards employers’ demands. The countrywide strikes that have taken place since 1991 have become controversial not merely due to their high frequency but also for their lack of legitimacy as reforms appear to be a foregone conclusion and the protest politics seems to be vain and economically hurting the nation. This paper explores the dynamics of the countrywide strikes and examines whether some of the demands of trade unions are justified.
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