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Diverse trajectories of industrial restructuring and labour organising in India

Satoshi Miyamura

Third World Quarterly, Volume 37, 2016 – Issue 10

It is often claimed that industrial restructuring leads to diminished roles for trade unionism and other forms of labour organisations by informalising employment and relocating production. Drawing on selected case studies from long-term fieldwork in regions of India, this article shows that trajectories of industrial restructuring and the responses by organised labour over the past two decades have been diverse. It is argued that the diverse response not only reflects structural opportunities and constraints for labour to be organised in particular ways, but also different histories and experiences of labour association. Contrary to the presumption about the general demise of trade unionism and the apparent unattainability of class solidarity in contemporary globalised capitalism, it is observed that India’s labour movement is experiencing a degree of resurgence, and new forms of labour organisations and activism are emerging, especially involving informal workers in the formal sector. That these innovative forms of mobilisation are shaped by experiences and aspirations that do not conform to the established institutionalised frameworks for dispute resolution has important policy and political implications.

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01436597.2016.1198228

Courtesy: T&F