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

Articles by Sandeep PendseSubscribe to Sandeep Pendse


gested that the law should provide that an employer who wrongfully victimises a worker, resorts to illegal closure or lock-out or fails to pay the statutory minimum wages to workmen will have to pay double the wages due to them. If the government could not prevent the employer from committing these illegal acts in the first place, especially the non-payment of wages legally due which is so rampant in the employments covered by the Minimum Wages Act, it is difficult to see what means it will use to make him pay double the wages. Besides, the present laws including the ID Act, already provide penalties, even of imprisonment besides fines, against employers indulging in such illegal acts. The Authority under the Payment of Wages Acts is also empowered to impose both costs and fines on employers not paying wages legally due to employees. Yet, how many state governments have launched prosecutions against employers to get them convicted and sentenced for these offences? How many employers have been prosecuted for misappropriating the PF and ESI contributions deducted from the employees' wages? To go on adding to the penalties on paper and not invoking them in practice has been the established pattern of government handling of thesei matters. In this light what previous labour minister Anjiah suggested can only be viewed as an eyewash, He further proposed that unions resorting to illegal strikes should be derecognised. Even before the provision for recognition is clearly spelt out, government is already preoccupied with derecognition! And with all the proposed restrictions on strikes, which strike will be lawful and which union will escape derecognition unless it abandons its primary function of protecting and promoting the interests of its members? The whole attitude behind this thinking is that recognition is a favour to be conferred on a union and not its inherent, rightful due by virtue of the following it has among the workers concerned. So, the union has to be placed on perpetual probation to merit that favour. Management which violates labour laws brazenly, does not forfeit the right to manage; but the union, for an act branded as unlawful, must forfeit the right to represent the workers, a right which is really the essence of its being a trade union.

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS-Managements on Offensive

WORKERS in thousands marched in a 'Notice Demonstration' (ishara morcha) to the Maharashtra assembly on July 8 The demonstration had been organised by the ClTU to draw the attention of the state government to the many long drawn out strikes and lockouts (as well as closures) in the state, and particularly in the Bombay region (including the Thane-Belapur belt). If the government took no action by August 15, the leaders warned, all workers belonging to the CITU (claimed to be 300,000) would strike work.

LABOUR-Industrial Violence A Case Study

LABOUR Industrial Violence: A Case Study Sandeep Pendse THE knowledgeable urban intellectual does not believe this, but owners of factories do make every effort to oppose unionisation of workers. Industrialists are not, in spite of the current myth to that effect, helpless, unfortunate, innocent creatures held to continuous reason by rapacious 'privileged' workers. The owners accept the existence of unions only when all their efforts to prevent and break them have failed. The forms of the effort vary. Suave and sophisticated managements of large companies use subtle techniques, eg. corruption, veiled intimidation, legally watertight victimisation, promotion of inter-union rivalries, and use of the state machinery. Crude, inexperienced owners of new, smaller factories abuse workers, assault them and throw them out with no pretenses of legality. Both seem to be unaware of the considered opinion of some of our intellectuals that trade unions are corrupt, co-opted bodies which actually serve the interests of capital. They seem to find organisations of workers inimical to their interests, and leave no stone unturned to break or at least weaken them. Any industrial centre in India would supply a mass of facts to support these contentions. Victimisation of activists, look-outs or fake closures, clashes between "groups of workers" and assaults on active workers are, however, not dramatic enough to disturb deadened sensibilities.

In a Political Vacuum

In a Political Vacuum Sandeep Pendse V B KARNIK has been a worker in the trade union movement since the thirties, a member of the M N Roy Group and general secretary of JFL from 1944 to 1948; he has been later associated with the HMS. This is his own description as given in the book under review ("Some Particulars about a Few Leaders of the Movement", p 414). However, the description does not convey fully the place he occupies nor the role he has played in the trade union movement in India. He is one of the rare intellectuals of the movement. (There have been many intellectuals associated with the trade union movement: they have not been intellectuals of the movement, however. This is seen in the lack of reflective or theoretical writings on the Indian working class and its movement based on experience within the movement.) Karnik has many works on the trade union movement in India to his credit, apart from regular contributions on the subject to newspapers and periodicals. It is reasonable, therefore, to expect his work on trade unions in India to be illuminating and provocative, even if controversial. Expectations are heightened all the more because of the lack of studies on the working class in India and by the fact that the book is in its third revised edition.

Poor Award for Textile Workers

Everyone was impressed by the award in the Bombay textile labour wage dispute announced on April 13 by the chief minister of Maharashtra and the Union Industries Minister. The media made sure that everyone would be impressed. The award was described as epoch-making, unprecedented, etc. The textile workers, however, were not impressed; they were disappointed. 

Back to Top