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Notes from the Pits of a Low Road – I

Worker Voices in an Auto Production Chain

The realities of work, workers and working conditions -as found by those who rough it out in the field - are mostly opposite to the mysterious universal rhetoric about high road world-class human resource management practices, corresponding to world-class manufacturing methodologies used for gaining competitiveness in the global automobile industry, as propounded, mostly out of thin air, by some industrial elites and evangelical academics. Based on worker interviews, this two-part article throws light on labour relations in an auto production chain of lead and subcontracting companies in the Delhi National Capital Region. It also points out why the dominant reality can be captured as industrial terrorism and low road employment conditions by examining some important events of labour unrest that took place, during and after our fieldwork, in Delhi NCR.

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