The Empty Promise of Freedom of Association: A Study of Anti‐Union Practices in Haryana

Gurgaon was supposed to be the model city that would emerge on the outskirts of Delhi to provide all of India with an example of what the future of business and development in India should look like. The rapid growth and development of Gurgaon was initially praised and applauded as it seemed that Gurgaon was creating jobs, developing industry, and attracting significant foreign business investment from major companies like Citibank, Motorola, IBM, Oberoi, Trident and Westin.

However, the rapid rise and development of Gurgaon also created issues including inadequate sanitation services, lack of adequate water supply, and a lack of oversight to protect the interests of the poor migrant workers who were lured to Gurgaon by promises of jobs and economic opportunity. The development of the city has been described as “a private sector gone berserk because it was blindsided by greed, successive governments that abdicated responsibility, and apathy on part of the landed gentry.”

Due to the fact that the development of Gurgaon was largely left to the industrialists and private corporations, there has been minimal oversight or regulation of business and manufacturing practices. In fact, the All India Trade Union Congress claims that the significant foreign industrial investment was the result of an implicit agreement between investors and the government of Haryana that union activity would be suppressed.

This has led to an environment in which human rights violations are rampant and the government is complicit in allowing business and manufacturing to continue abusing workers.

The Empty Promise of Freedom of Association: A Study of Anti‐Union Practices in Haryana

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Struggle within the Struggle: Voices of women garment workers

Sexual harassment at the workplace is by now well understood as a form of gender discrimination at work, and a violation of the basic principles of equality and dignity ensured by our Constitution. On 23 April 2013, sixteen years after the landmark Vishaka judgment of 1997, the Parliament of India enacted The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, which was subsequently notified by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 9 December 2013.

In recent years, sexual harassment at the workplace has increasingly come to be recognised as a cause of concern, as it violates basic principles of gender equality and labour rights in the framework of these being inalienable human rights of all workers alike.

Though not yet covered by any specific international instrument, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Committee of Experts considers ‘sexual harassment’ to fall within the scope of the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No.111), and the Committee on the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has also qualified it as a form of discrimination on the basis of sex, and as a form of violence against women.

Struggle within the Struggle: Voices of women garment workers

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Assembly Line of Broken Fingers

Assembly Line of Broken Fingers:A Roadmap to Combating Occupational Health and Safety Hazards in the Manesar Auto Industrial Belt

In April of 2013, a factory building in Bangladesh collapsed and killed at least 1,100 workers. In the wake of this catastrophe, the United Nations set up a committee to ensure families of the dead or injured workers were compensated. The committee estimated that the cost of doing so would be $40 million.

As of last year, however, it had raised only $15 million, indicating the shameful reluctance of factory owners and foreign retailers to help those devastated by their greed. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated instance. It is axiomatic that every year tens of thousands of lives are shattered throughout the world due to preventable occupational hazards.

A prime example of this unfortunate truth is the Manesar Auto Industrial Belt near New Delhi, India. Between the years of 2000 and 2004 alone, the Indian auto component industry grew from USD 3.9 Billion to USD 6.7 Billion. There was also estimated to be approximately 160 global auto giants with international purchasing offices in India by the year 2010.
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Exploring Rural-Urban Dynamics: A Study of Inter-State Migrants in Gurgaon (Hindi)

Exploring Rural-Urban Dynamics: A Study of Inter-State Migrants in Gurgaon (Hindi)

In the light of on‐going structural changes in India and consequently changing contours of the rural economy, the nature and pattern of migration has been changing over time. During the last two decades, there has been a general change in the destination of migration from rural‐rural to rural‐urban. However, the intensity of migration is generally reported to be low in India due to the conventional approach of defining migration.

Planning for the poor in the destination cities is conspicuous by its absence. As the mind‐set of the urban planners is to treat migrants as outsiders and a burden on the existing civic infrastructure, they get excluded from most urban planning processes and mechanisms, compounding the problems that they are already plagued with.

Inter‐State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was promulgated for the purpose of regulation of the service condition of the migrant workers, but in status today, it is an ineffective piece of legislation. In today’s scenario, there is an urgent need to revisit the debate on legislation for the welfare of migrant workers.
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Exploring Rural-Urban Dynamics: A Study of Inter-State Migrants in Gurgaon

Exploring Rural-Urban Dynamics: A Study of Inter-State Migrants in Gurgaon

In the light of on‐going structural changes in India and consequently changing contours of the rural economy, the nature and pattern of migration has been changing over time. During the last two decades, there has been a general change in the destination of migration from rural‐rural to rural‐urban. However, the intensity of migration is generally reported to be low in India due to the conventional approach of defining migration.

Planning for the poor in the destination cities is conspicuous by its absence. As the mind‐set of the urban planners is to treat migrants as outsiders and a burden on the existing civic infrastructure, they get excluded from most urban planning processes and mechanisms, compounding the problems that they are already plagued with.

Inter‐State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was promulgated for the purpose of regulation of the service condition of the migrant workers, but in status today, it is an ineffective piece of legislation. In today’s scenario, there is an urgent need to revisit the debate on legislation for the welfare of migrant workers.
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Migration Report of Jharkhand

Migration Report of Jharkhand

Migration and urbanization are two important inter-related phenomena of economic development. If channelized properly, it has the potential of societal transformation. Otherwise, it can be not only counter-productive for the societal harmony but also disastrous for the long term economic development. The historical experiences have proved that process of migration is unstoppable in modern times. The migrant workers are key force behind rising contribution of urban conglomerations to India’s GDP. Migrants are indispensable but mostly invisible key actors in cities’ development. Rural migrants in urban spaces are socially mobile, culturally flexible and economically aspiring people. Migrants are an important component of social dynamism and material development of the society. They can also be tools of cultural amalgamation and innovation. Yet, they are most vulnerable to economic exploitation and social stereotyping.

The contribution of migrants to the GDP of the country goes unnoticed. It is estimated that the migrants contribute no less than 10% to the country’s GDP.1 Many other positive as well as potential impact through the migration process remains unrecognized. According to Census 2001, in India, internal migrants account for as large as 309 million, which was about 28% of the then total population. More recent numbers, as revealed by NSSO (2007-08), show that there are about 326 million internal migrants in India, i.e. nearly 30% of the total population. Almost 70% of all the migrants are women, the fact often forgotten and lost in the data on migration.

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Health & Safety Group: Final Portfolio

Health & Safety Group: Final Portfolio

Rajesh is a Quality Controller in the Production Department of a garment factory in Gurgaon, India. He works over twelve hours per day, every single day. Management tells employees to work overtime, often regardless of whether production targets are met, despite consistently refusing to pay workers the double-time wages they are entitled to. If workers rightfully object, they are told “not to come back to work tomorrow.”

Rajesh’s situation is not uncommon. The coercive strategies leveraged by Rajesh’s management are emblematic of garment worker oppression in the factories of Gurgaon. While forced overtime negatively impacts all aspects of workers’ lives in- and outside of their factories, these practices have particularly appalling effects on workplace health and safety.
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BARRIERS TO JUSTICE: Workers’ struggle in Gurgaon

BARRIERS TO JUSTICE: Workers’ struggle in Gurgaon

In Gurgaon, workers face apathetic, biased, and dysfunctional justice systems. Barriers to justice for workers in Gurgaon are legendary, demonstrate institutionalized anti-worker and pro-business practices, and flourish in a culture of impunity.
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Wage Structures in the Indian Garment Industry

Wage Structures in the Indian Garment Industry

The Indian economy adopted a liberalised economic policy regime after 1990–91, in an attempt to ensure greater integration of the domestic economy with global competitive markets. This was motivated by the policy assumption that opening up of domestic markets would enhance the competitive efficiency of domestic business enterprises on account of transfer of technology, knowledge and skill sets from abroad. A large set of literature has shown that despite the modernisation of domestic enterprises over the past two decades, the Indian manufacturing sector has failed to propel itself on a high growth trajectory (Unni and Rani, 2004). Contrary to the policy belief, severe competition in the global export markets have led domestic firms to resort to cost cutting labour market strategies that have led to the widespread prevalence of oppressive labour relations across the Indian manufacturing sector (Vijay, 2009).

In a bid to remain globally competitive, firms have targeted reduction of labour costs as a tool to ensure a reduction in production costs. This is evident in firms denying payment of minimum wages, social security, or fringe benefits to its workforce and increasingly resorting to informal employment contracts that ensure flexibility to businesses in terms of labour costs. Persistent minimum wage violations or wage theft practices coupled with a lack of freedom of association are becoming alarmingly visible across the Indian manufacturing sector.
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A Study of Subcontracting in the Garment Industry in Gurgaon

A Study of Subcontracting in the Garment Industry in Gurgaon

It is common knowledge that labour intensive industries engage in subcontracting or outsourcing of production, though in varying degrees, depending on the nature of the industry. From our interaction with workers in the garment industry, it has been learned that in the last half a decade, the subcontracting in the garment industry in Gurgaon has been maturing as a common practice.

Subcontractors have become an integral part of the export oriented garment industry in Gurgaon and they contribute significantly to sustain the business cycle the Indian suppliers face by providing the extra shop floor space required to produce more during the peak seasons, and by absolving the Tier 1 companies from the legal liability of keeping a regular workforce and by assisting the Tier 1 companies to adhere to the lean manufacturing principles.

Subcontracting is taking place in the garment industry in a discreet manner (the agencies or entities which are getting the subcontracted work are not registered as factories, or micro/small/medium enterprise, or contractor/ subcontractor under any of the Laws) and thus making this invisible in the eyes of law.

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