First and foremost is the right of employees of an organization to involve in collective bargaining through unionization. All over the modern world, unionization and collective bargaining are well recognized as one of the fundamental rights of employees.
But the big business owned Indian media are only too glad to portray as ‘villains’ every striking worker and strike as a totally negative ‘event’
Collective Bargaining is the basic right of a worker that cannot and should not be trampled with, however much corporates and the media wish
Be it Beedi workers who engage in strike for getting an increase of Rs.2 per day, Be it Government/Public Sector Employees who engage in strike against computerization or for additional perks/benefits or now Airline Pilots who engage in strike for saving their jobs from international competition, striking workers are pictured as villains weakening the Indian economy, by the media.
The media follows every such strike by artificially heightening the pitch, have a round of bashing against imaginary leftists and unionists, call for ‘reform’ of labour laws, which essentially means deny workers their rights available in any civilized country.
As long as the division of worker and management exist in an organization, collective bargaining and unionization are tools that should be made available to workers. They cannot be trampled under so-called labour reforms.
Truly in modern organizations and in future the lines between management and worker are blurring. In many professionally run organizations, even CEO is a worker. The board is the real management.
In modern economies, even CEO is a worker
In my view, there is no real worker, no real management in modern economies. There is no need for us versus them. But then such an environment would take time to evolve, but I am sure will evolve.
I would recommend us migrating to an environment in which there are no worker-management distinction. Few people come together to do a service to society and make money out of it. They divide the proceeds amongst them in some fixed formula, confine themselves to some rules and regulations for better management. This is the view that needs to emerge. But for this the proceeds of the business, be it profit or loss need to be shared amongst all people concerned in a more equitable and transparent way. It also means the maturity levels across organization has to be more.
Few people come together to do a service to society and make money out of it. In a sense, management and worker division is artificial.
But today this is not the view. The managements feel that they do the business and earn money and provide it to workers on what they deem fit and according to laws. They do not share what’s happening in their business or involve all employees. Businesses are run exclusively between select group of people. And in particular in India, sometimes it is run only inside the mind of the ‘owner’ and not even the top management is party to it.
‘Management’s think they do the business and pay what they deem fit according to laws to ‘worker’s.
In these circumstances, fairness requires that employees be allowed to form unions and also be given the option of ‘collective bargaining’.
In my view strong Labour unionization in the Public Sector Undertakings has contributed greatly to our country’s progress. This strong unionization resulted in a markedly well-off, real middle-class segment. A strong clerical cadre in the Government and a professional cadre in the Public sector enterprises emerged. This cadre laid the foundation for the young entrepreneurial India, that we are witnessing today.
Strong Labour Unions of the past that resulted in a big middle-class is the foundation on which the modern young entreprenuerial Indian middle-class has grown
Hence it is a wrong view that unionization would affect the progress of economics. Strong unionization gives a perfect balance to economic progress and spreads equality, though at times the management feels it as a constant head-ache.
And now it is well recognized beyond doubt that more equalitarian an economy is, more spending and more trickling off wealth happens in all directions compared to when all the money gets hoarded in one place and then the trickling down has to happen.