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

Review of LabourSubscribe to Review of Labour

An Informalised Labour System

The textile mill closures in Ahmedabad cost over 1,00,000 jobs, and resulted in the informalisation of a vast majority of the sacked workers. Gujarat can thus be understood as an experiment for trying out what will happen to state and society under a policy regime that does not attempt to harness the most brutal consequences of a market-led mode of capitalist protection. The total eclipse of Gandhian values has also led to the shrinking of the social space needed for humanising economic growth.

Social Implications of Voluntary Retirement Scheme

The impact of voluntary retirement schemes has had wide-ranging impact on the nature of employment, and is changing the quality of workers' lives. One of the effects is the increasing casualisation of labour. This article examines the nature of change in the quality of life among workers who have accepted VRS, locating some of the problems in the context of the employers' attitude to VRS.

Bombay Dock Labour Board 1948-1994

In pre-independent India, dock workers enjoyed little security of employment. Not only was work intermittent, there were no safety provisions while wages varied from contractor to contractor. With the setting up of the Bombay Dock Labour Board, a modicum of social security was provided for against sudden economic crises and during times of recession. Since the 1980s, however, changes that included the emergence of JNPT, subcontracting of workers, new modes of work, implementation of retirement schemes, among other measures have resulted in financial difficulties for the board. This paper deliberates on the conditions of labour that existed in ports of the pre-independence period and then seeks to analyse the impact of globalisation in context of the dock workers.

Coping with Urban Poverty

This paper tries to examine the socio-economic adjustments of families that have undergone decline in living standards within a brief period of time. The main earners in these families were once employed in the textile mills where most often, employment was regular and permanent with some degree of social security. These people have lost their jobs and all the other facilities which they were entitled to, becoming a part of the urban poor which draws its sustenance through employment in the informal/unorganised sector. How have they adjusted to their new economic status and what are the social institutions through which they are able to survive?

Labour Process in the Informal Sector

This paper attempts to study the features of the labour process in a transitional situation, on the basis of a field survey in the informal handloom weaving sector in Nadia district. This process depends largely on the nature of the institutional arrangement in the sector, where usury capital has a strong presence due to the influence of the merchant lender, the 'mahajan'. The deskilling tendency associated with the relation between the producer and the mahajan and the unity of conception and execution in some cases are among the characteristics that describe this labour process.

Women in Informal Sector in Kerala

Though statistics reveal the increase in women's employment in Kerala's 'informal' sector, this employment is more in the nature of casual and irregular, contractual labour. Moreover, though women's earnings contribute substantially to the household, this is more often than not denigrated. Women, especially in the lower classes and the lower castes, not only have to cope with physical hardships that impact their health, they continue to be paid much lower wages than men in the same category.

Thirty Years of Industrial Labour in South Gujarat: Trends and Significance

Since the 1970s, the industrial landscape of the southernmost districts of Gujarat changed drastically and the number of workers and factories along the Vapi-Ahmedabad corridor increased dramatically after 1990. Gujarat, now, exhibits the all India pattern of growing social and regional inequalities in a most pronounced way. The profoundness of capitalist transformation in Gujarat is evidenced by several developments. The disproportionate share of casual labour; one of the highest incidences of landlessness in India; growing social and economic disparities within and among workers; and the gradual casualisation and feminisation of the local labour force.

Informalisation and Feminisation of a Formal Sector Industry

State-sponsored incentive schemes have led to a booming of the informal industrial sector. While concessions have been provided towards concessions on capital investment, the state has not made it obligatory for industry to provide statutory welfare benefits and good working conditions for its workers. As this case study of an engineering unit establishes, there is now an increasing casualisation of labour with recruitment on a contractual basis. Another noticeable trend has been the increasing feminisation of the workforce, as women are engaged to operate most production processes.

Kerala's Informal Labour Market Interventions

Labour-intensive growth is often advocated as a means for both poverty reduction (through employment provision) and economic growth (through labour-intensive enterprises). However, the implicit notion that well-being of individuals and households will be enhanced through the gaining of employment is too often assumed rather than established. This paper provides an opportunity for a closer examination of the pathways from work to well-being through a case study of the headloaders sector of the informal labour market in Kerala.

Gender and Informality in Labour Market in South Asia

The paper provides evidence of the growing informalisation of the labour force in south Asian countries. Two broad components of the informal economy, i e, non-wage and wage employment are distinguished. The share of the first component has been rising in the last two decades. Within non-wage employment, certain invisible groups of workers, such as homebased workers and street vendors are vulnerable to changes in the global and local economy. The increasing casualisation of the workforce is evidence of an increase in the second broad component. Within wage employment, homeworkers or outworkers and informal workers in the formal enterprises are vulnerable. The low quality of employment available to women in the informal economy is brought out by evidence on the wages and incomes received and differentials in earnings.

Increasing Inequality in United States

Among OECD countries, the US has the highest level of inequality and the second highest increase in inequality in recent decades. Given this dubious distinction, it is worth examining the economic and political dynamics of inequality in the US in detail. Two particular dimensions of the restructuring of the US economy - the role of technology and the decline of wage-setting institutions is examined in some detail. A nuanced analysis of gender and racial dimensions of inequality is attempted.

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