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Industrial Disputes in the Indian Textile Industry

An econometric analysis has been done to identify the causes of occurrences of disputes, strikes, and lockouts in the Indian textile industry. The relative shares of strikes and lockouts in the pre- and post-liberalisation periods for both the public and the private sectors have been assessed and analysed. The incidence and impact of these disputes have also been explored, revealing significant details about the changes in the relationship of disputes, strikes, and lockouts with their determinants in the textile industry.

Between ‘Baksheesh’ and ‘Bonus’

How is class experienced by domestic workers when they come together for collective action? Using ethnographic data, this paper argues that the collective action efforts by some unions of domestic workers in Bengaluru to demand “bonus” reveals the struggles over class that they engage in, struggles that make them conscious of their in-between class status as self-employed workers in a precarious informal economy. The collective action of demanding bonus in Bengaluru entails a cultural–political struggle away from a gift economy relationship and towards a more commodified economy under conditions of precarity in the informal economy.

Reviewing the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015

The National Democratic Alliance government released an early draft of a bill attempting to codify the statutes dealing with industrial relations, that is, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946. The Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, is one of the three labour codes the government is working on to consolidate all the important labour legislation. It is important to analyse the text of the 2015 bill when the ruling party’s own affiliate, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, protests against the proposed bill.

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.

The Nokia SEZ Story

The closure of Nokia's mobile phone assembly plant in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, just eight years after it commenced production, illustrates how corporations can quit operations at a point when it is no longer profitable for them to continue, while the impact of such closures on workers is profound. The special economic zones policy of the state actively promoted corporate-led industrialisation promising employment, and creating aspirations among young workers. There was no accountability or labour-centred exit policies factored into the state's industrial policies when state governments welcomed private investments. With the closure of Nokia, not only have promises been broken, but its workers and supply companies have lost their livelihoods and future possibilities of work.

Sharit Bhowmik, 1948-2016

A fellow academic and comrade of 33 years writes about the labour studies scholar, much loved teacher, indefatigable trade unionist and writer who combined street studies with grass-roots work and organising.

Striking for Their Right

General strikes are important political interventions allowing for workers' voices to be heard.

Lean and Mean China

Inside China's Automobile Factories: The Politics of Labour and Worker Resistance by Lu Zhang; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015; pp xv+243, $19.99.

Trade Unions in Banks Remain Relevant

“Are Trade Unions Relevant in the Indian Banking Sector?” by Bino Paul G D and Pooja Gupta Mahurkar (EPW, 16 April 2016) contains surmises and generalisations without verifiable supporting data, apart from glaring contradictions. Further, it does not address the current challenges before bank unions.

From Mills to Malls

From Mills to Malls Loss of a City

Changing Policy Regime and Labour

The changing policy orientation from mid-1980s onwards has serious implications for the institutions and actors involved in the process of industrialisation. The labour market is no exception. This paper tries to reflect on this change by understanding the politicaleconomic dynamics of change in a new industrial town Kothur in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.

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