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

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Co-option or Confrontation-New Challenges for Indian Trade Unions

New Challenges for Indian Trade Unions Kalpana Wilson Is there an alternative to bureaucratic and politically shackled trade unionism on the one hand, and isolated and depoliticised 'independent' activism on the other? Recent developments suggest the emergence of a third current, combining ideological commitment and practical integrity bringing together the organised and the unorganised sector workers in a wider movement THE accelerating process of globalisation has focused attention on the trade union movement from alt sides. On the one hand, drastic large-scale retrenchments, casuali- sation of labour, rising prices and cuts in government spending, and a creeping curtailment of workers' rights to organise have made Indian workers in both the organised and increasingly the unorganised sectors turn to trade unions and demand from them new strategies to confront these attacks. On the other hand, while global capital and its representatives have long regarded trade unions as an obstacle to the introduction of policies which further its interests (the Indian trade union movement being singled out for criticism by the World Bank for its opposition to the new economic policies), attempts are now on to appropriate and remould trade unions from above in order that they may actually become a tool in the current economic restructuring.

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