Mockery of Labour Laws

Today’s newspapers are splashed with the news of the bludgeoning to death of the Managing Director and the Chief Executive Director of a NOIDA based Multi National Company by a 200 strong armed mob of dismissed workers. It is sad news by all means. Three months ago, Italian MNC Graziano Transmission lay off 200 workers. These workers were deprived from egress and ingress in the premises of the company.
This is one of the worst instances of industrial violence in recent times. It can be seen after liberalisation of economy and globalisation of trade and manufacturing the militancy in the trade unions had almost disappeared. There have been many reasons for it. Firstly; there has been contractualisation of workers on a very large scale cutting across the industry, secondly; economism has acquired the prime place, thirdly; the interchange of jobs from one industry to other has become very common, which is neither resisted by the employers not by employees. The concept of the loyalty to the organisation had gone for ever, fourthly; the employees are well paid, educated and computer savvy unlike the employees of the olden days when 80 per cent of them used to be blue collared.
Be that as it may, the level of resentment among the workers due to opening of the economy has not gone down or decreased albeit, it has increased in many sectors. But they can hardly do anything for want of responsible trade unions in the country. Trade Unions are like red rags to employers. They resist the formation of trade union in their organisations with tooth and nail. In case, the union has been formed surreptitiously, the proprietors would make it every effort to crush it. Employees are prevented to enrol as the members of the union and office-bearers of the union are harassed and victimised.
It does not mean that trade unions are lily white. They have also their shares of blame. Trade Union leaders live under the false impressions that unions sans militancy are no good. Therefore, the espousal of militancy and particularly violent militancy has been considered a good quality. Trade Unions living under the patronage of the left political parties have been mainly responsible for developing this concept. That is why; there has been steep decline in the membership of trade unions in the last two decades. The erosion of credibility in the trade unions is a great loss to the working class. Today, there is flood of the IT enabled industries in the satellite towns of Delhi, be it NOIDA or Gurgaon. Thousands of young, highly educated and skilled men and women have got jobs, but at what cost?
There are hardly any labour laws that respected in these industries. No fixed working hours, no leave; not even casual is made available to them 10 to 12 hours work is a norm than rule. Demand of overtime is unthinkable. These young men and women, who should bubble with enthusiasm, become a mental and physical wreck in a few years. They are turning into a big problem for the society. They get trapped with hypertension and host of other ailments.Marital life is getting disturbed. Neurological problems are increasing. Divorces are on the rise. Non existence of labour laws is the main culprit.
Gaurav is a young man holding the MBA and Engineering degree is working for a multi national company in Gurgaon. No doubt, he is being paid handsome salary which was unimaginable two decades ago. But he is quite tense. He leaves home in the morning and returns at around mid night. Deprived of good sleep, he is losing appetite. He has completed only a year in the job and has become the victim of blood pressure. This is the fall out of liberalisation, where the laws are looked upon by the managements in disdain and contempt.
So, the death of the CEO of Graziano Tramissioni, Lalit Kishore Chaudhary is very sad and mournful. Heart goes out for his young, educated wife and teenaged son. As per newspaper reports Chaudhary was least responsible for what has happened in his company. He was the victim of the circumstances and pent up anger of the dismissed employees. Here in this case, as in nearly ninety nine per cent cases, the labour enforcement authorities, who are fully soaked in corruption, are responsible for this sad state of affairs.
The exploitation of the employees are going up; not because labour laws are changed or amended but changed or amended but because the authorities of the labour department are corrupt and they never bother to see whether even semblance of laws are observed or not. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of association as fundamental right. It was further recognised in the Trade Union Act, 1926, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1948 but nobody bothers about it.
Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, while inaugurating a seminar the other day in New Delhi said, ‘Changing role of the state Competitive pressures of globalisation, technological changes, the changing working ethics, resultant contractualisation and outsourcing have impacted employer-employer relations in the country’. It shows the rank ignorance of the minister about the labour laws, otherwise he would not have talked in this manner. It is his duplicity which amounts to bungling with the cause of employees. It will cause the irretrievable damage to the industrial relations.