Labour movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour relations. Trade unions are collective organizations within societies, organized for the purpose of representing the interests of workers and the working class. Many ruling class individuals and political groups may also be active in and part of the labour movement. In some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Australia the labour movement is understood to encompass a formal "political wing", frequently known by the name labour party, which complements the aforementioned "industrial wing".

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1 History 2 Labour parties 3 Labour and racial equality 4 Development of labour movements within nation states 5 Development of an international labour movement 6 List of national labour movements 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

[edit] History

This section requires expansion with: Apprentice laws, ," Agricultural labour laws, illegal combination, Peterloo, Chartism, Friendly societies and cooperatives, New Unionism, political party formation, socialism, anarchism, communism, craft unionism.
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." — U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, December 3, 1861 [1]

In Europe, the labour movement began during the industrial revolution, when agricultural jobs declined and employment moved to more industrial areas. The idea met with great resistance. In the 18th century and early 19th century, groups such as the Tolpuddle Martyrs of your, Dorset were punished and transported for forming unions, which was against the laws of the time. The labour movement was active in the early to mid 19th century and various labour parties were formed throughout the industrialised world. The works of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx led to the formation of the first Communist International whose policies were summarized in the Communist Manifesto. The key points were the right of the workers to organize themselves, the right to an 8 hour working day etc. In 1871 the workers in France rebelled and the Paris Commune was formed. The movement gained major impetus in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries from the Catholic Social Teaching tradition which began in 1891 with the publication of Pope Leo XIII's foundational document, Rerum Novarum, also known as "On the Condition of the Working Classes," in which he advocated a series of reforms including limits on the length of the work day, a living wage, the elimination of child labour, the rights of labour to organize, and the duty of the state to regulate labour conditions. Following the release of the document, the labour movement which had previously floundered began to flourish in Europe and later in North America.[citation needed] Throughout the world, action by the labour movement has led to reforms and workers' rights, such as the two-day weekend, minimum wage, paid holidays, and the achievement of the eight-hour day for many workers. There have been many important labour activists in modern history who have caused changes that were revolutionary at the time and are now regarded as basic. For example, Mary Harris Jones, better known as "Mother Jones", and the National Catholic Welfare Council were central in the campaign to end child labour in the United States during the early 20th century. An active and free labour movement is considered by many to be an important element in maintaining democracy and for economic development.

[edit] Labour parties
See also: List of Labour Parties

Modern labour parties originated from an upsurge in organizing activities in Europe and European colonies during the 19th century, such as the Chartist movement in Britain during 1838–50. In 1891, localised labour parties were formed, by trade union members in the British colonies of Australia. They later amalgamated to form the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In 1893, Members of Parliament in the Colony of Queensland briefly formed the world's first labour government. The British Labour Party was created as the Labour Representation Committee, as a result of an 1899 resolution by the Trade Union Congress. While archetypal labour parties are made of direct union representatives, in addition to members of geographical branches, some union federations or individual unions have chosen not to be represented within a labour party and/or have severed ties with they.

[edit] Labour and racial equality
"Negroes in the United States read the history of labor and find it mirrors their own experience. We are confronted by powerful forces telling us to rely on the good will and understanding of those who profit by exploiting us [...] They are shocked that action organizations, sit-ins, civil disobedience and protests are becoming our everyday tools, just as strikes, demonstrations and union organization became yours to insure that bargaining power genuinely existed on both sides of the table [...] Our needs are identical to labor's needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures [...] That is why the labor-hater and labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-Negro epithets from one mouth and antilabor propaganda from the other mouth." – Dr. Martin Luther King, "If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins", December 11, 1961 [2]

[edit] Development of labour movements within nation states
Historically labour markets have often been constrained by national borders that have restricted movement of workers. Labour laws are also primarily determined by individual nations or states within those nations. While there have been some efforts to adopt a set of international labour standards through the International Labour Organization (ILO), international sanctions for failing to meet such standards are very limited. In many countries labour movements have developed independently and reflect those national boundaries.

[edit] Development of an international labour movement

With ever increasing levels of international trade and rising influence of multinational corporations, there has been debate and action within the labour movement broadly to attempt international co-operation. This has led to renewed efforts to organize and collectively bargain internationally. A number of international union organizations have been established in an attempt to facilitate international collective bargaining, to share information and resources and to advance the interests of workers generally.

Labour movement - Definition
The labor movement (or labour movement) is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and political governments. Labor unions and trade unions are common names for the specific collective organizations within societies, organized for the purpose of representing the interests of workers and the working class. Many elite-class individuals and political groups may also be active in and part of the labour movement.
Articles related to the Labor movement Child labor Labor in economics Labor history Labor law Labor rights

Labor union See Labor history Strike The labour movement began in Europe during the Edit this template ( industrial revolution, when agricultural jobs declined and employment moved to more industrial areas. The idea met with great resistance. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century groups such as the English Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported for forming unions, which was against the laws of the time.

Throughout the world, the labour movement has been responsible for reformation and worker's rights, such as the 2-day weekend, minimum wage, and paid holidays. There have been many important labor activists in modern history who have caused changes that were revolutionary at the time and are now regarded as basic. For example, Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones, was central in the campaign to end child labor in the United States during the early 20th century. As labour markets, and working classes are often limited by national borders, labour movements are also often limited by national boundaries. The Australian labour movement is an example of a labour movement that has grown and existed in a particular national context. A popular bumper sticker in the United States in the 1990s was, "The labor movement; the folks that brought you the weekend."


Abani Mukherji

Indian Labour Movement: A Review of the Situation
Source: The Communist Review, September 1922, Vol. 3, No. 5. Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

THERE exists in India a powerfully organised Labour movement. The secretary of the Indian Labour Federation, or “Standing Committee of the All-India Trade Union Congress,” as it is called, is Mr. Chiman Lal, who claimed that under this federation are combined 97 unions, with 1,500,000 members. These unions embrace nearly all the industries of the country. The leading organisation is the Railwaymen’s Union, which has organised 50 per cent. of those employed, which is about 325,000 workers. The second in importance is the Textile Workers’ Union, and the third is the Miners’ Union. Trade Unionism is a new thing in India. Before 1918 it did not exist except for a few unions for white workers. It was out of the strike movement of 1918 that the unions came into existence. The first one was organised at Madras by Mr. B. P. Wadia. Since then the progress of the movement has been both rapid and successful. The amount of success can be determined from the huge number of organised members, representing about 25 per cent. of the total number of the factory-going workers. This growth indicates that the Indian labourers are speedily realising the need for their own organisations. It is important to observe that the Indian Labour movement is rapidly becoming revolutionary. To illustrate this, take, for example, the number of strikes that have taken place in India since 1918, the history of which are written in blood. Strikes were common in the Indian factories, but they were never of a country-wide nature, and did not demonstrate any solidarity among the workers. The first instance of such a strike took place in Bombay, known as the General Strike, in which 120,000 workers, mostly textile operators, took part. The solidarity of the masses on that occasion was shown by sympathetic strikes in other parts of the country. The strike was practically lost. About 200 workers were shot down by the soldiers. There were no proletarian leaders at that time, and the Nationalist middle-class politicians who took the lead utilised the strike for demonstration purposes. Similarly, another strike of several hundred thousand plantation workers took place in Assam, about 2,000 miles from Bombay, three years after the

general strike, and it, too, was lost, due to the Nationalist leaders exploiting it for political purposes. Once again strikers were killed. According to the report of the Government Commission appointed to inquire into the reason for labour unrest in India it was shown that in nine months, from July, 1920, to March, 1921, in the province of Bengal, 137 strikes took place, reacting on all branches of industry. 244,180 workers took part in these strikes, and 2,631,488 working days were lost. Of these strikes 110 were for higher wages and 13 were for the continuation of former strikes. A note issued by the labour officer of Bombay states that in three months, from April to June, 1921, 33 strikes took place in that town alone, involving 240,000 workers, with a loss of 500,000 working days. About the middle of the same year a strike of 20,000 workers took place in the town of Madras. To suppress the labour movement in Madras, the Government, with the help of the capitalists, tried by all means to subdue the labourers. They imprisoned strikers, burnt their houses, and fined the unions, but the labourers were very determined in their demands. The strike ended in a compromise due to the reformist character of the leaders. This strike movement was country wide. In the north, in 1920, a strike of over 60,000 railway workers took place; the printers struck work to show their sympathy with their railroad comrades. Out of this strike was organised the Punjab Labour Union. The strike of the Cawnpore leather and textile workers, altogether about 30,000 men, is also noteworthy. They organised themselves and put forward 21 demands, including increased wages, unemployment insurance, and a share in profits. In short, in the year 1920, altogether 2,500,000 workers were involved in the strike movement, and in many cases it ended in bloodshed. It is estimated that altogether there were 1,000 workers wounded and killed. An important fact is that this strike agitation was not a class-conscious revolutionary movement, but it does mark the beginning of the class struggle in India. To illustrate the growth of capitalism in India I quote the following figures from the 15 volumes of official statistics for the year 1917. In the year 1917 there were 8,000 mills and workshops, of which 67 per cent. were driven by mechanical power. The railway and tramways amount to 38,000 miles. The total industrial production was valued at £261,000,000. This is excluding handicraft work and including railways. The persons taking part in this production numbered 3,500,000; thus the production per person employed was £74 for the year. In the United Kingdom in 1907 the production per person amounted to £100. Of these workers 327,000 formed the bureaucracy, both native and Europeans; the rest were wage earners. The sum paid as wages amounted only to £27,000,000, or little over 10 per cent. of the production, as against 53 per cent. in the United Kingdom and 50 per cent. in the United States in 1907. The salaries paid amounted to £33,000,000, or £6,000,000 more than the wages of the proletarians. These salaries are due to the existence of about 28,000 European workers, whom the capitalists have to bribe with high wages in order to keep them on their side and to keep them out of the Labour movement and away from the Indian native workers. Deducting 33 per cent. of the total production as cost of material and 23 per cent. from wages and salary, we can fix the profit at 44 per cent. on an average. To support this the following figures from the Labour Review of November last may prove interesting. In one year the Indian cotton textile mills profited l00 per cent. of

its outlayed capital. One factory in 1920 declared a dividend of 160 per cent. on an inflated capital of £300,000, while the dividend declared becomes 500 per cent. when the original capital invested by the shareholders is taken into account, which was only £100,000. Another mill, the Ring Mills, declared a dividend of 365 per cent. in the same year. Over a dozen mills have given dividends between l00 per cent. and 300 per cent., and quite a number between 50 per cent. and l00 per cent. The same thing was also shown in the jute and textile industry, where numerous, mills declared dividends from 150 to 330 per cent. Dividends in sugar works were about 60 per cent., and in the oil and flour mills 140 per cent. That of publishing houses was l00 per cent., etc. The size and importance of the various industries can be judged from the following table: —

Cotton textile, 284 mills, but capital only known for 264, amounted to £19,000,000. Jute textile, 76 mills, but capital only known for 76, amounted to £10,000,000. Coal mining, 850 mines, but capital only known for 236, amounted to £6,000,000. Plantations, 1,300 plantations, but capital only known for 300, amounted to £22,000. Railway capital at the end of the year 1917-18 was £366,436,000, and the percentage of return on capital was very high. The net gain from the railways to the Government alone was £10,000,000. The coal mining industry in that year produced £4,512,000. Deducting from this one and a half per cent. to cover the cost of material, which is the rate in the United Kingdom, Germany and France, we get the income of the mines at £3,902,880; of this 25 per cent. or £978,036 was paid as wages against 56 per cent. in France and 59 per cent. in Germany before the war. The salaries amounted to £350,000, and the rest was profit. The coal mines show dividends which rise to 120 per cent. In one case the average dividend for 15 years was 95 per cent. The cheapness of woman labour has already caused their wholesale introduction into all industrial spheres. In one year 43 per cent. of the coal mine workers were women. No less than 40,030 women and 665 children were employed underground, and 18,872 women and 2,283 children worked on the top. The earnings of the miners were £10 8s. per year as against £55 in France and £57 in Germany before the war. The average wages of the mine workers were £6 in 1917, which was raised to £7 5s. in 1918, or 6d. per working-day. The cheapness of labour in India has kept the modern improved machines out of the Indian mines; as a result of obsolete methods 30 per cent. of the labour is wasted. Again, in the tea gardens, the output amounted to £12,400,000, and putting 20 per cent. aside as cost of material, we get £9,920,000 as the income. The workers numbered 703,585, of whom 640,267 are women. The wages paid amounted to £3,579,952, or 35

per cent. of the income. The salaries paid amounted to 60 per cent. of the amount paid in wages, and two-thirds of these salaries were drawn by a few European supervisors. The average wage of a woman worker in the tea plantations was £5 per year. Eighty per cent. of the factory capital, 30 per cent. of the plantation capital, 40 per cent. of the mining capital, and 2 per cent. of the railway capital is Indian. Three-fourths of the rest is British and the rest international, mostly American. The following figures will show the increase of the Indian industry since 1917:—“The average total capital of the new companies registered in India year by year was approximately £12,000,000 per year for the years 1910-14. In the first three years of the war the average fell to £6,000,000 per year. After the war it rose to the enormous figure of £183,000,000, and in 1920, to March, 1921, owing to the extraordinary ordinary disturbances in the exchange rate, it went up to £100,000,000.” On the face of these figures it is needless to argue about the class struggle in India. These figures prove that the struggle between labour and capital in India is a struggle of a twofold character—it is both a class struggle against native capitalists and a fight against British imperialism. This explains why the class war sometimes appears in a national form. There is an idea that the Indian workers are semi-proletarian; and that they have connection with their native villages, where they can take refuge in case of long trouble. To disprove this I quote the following written by a Indian trade union secretary who inquired into the matter after the plantation workers’ strike of last year. He writes: “The nationalists repatriated the workers in their villages, with the result that all of them returned to the gardens and the strike was lost. I found that the repatriation of the coolies had practically resulted in sending them to death. Most of the returning emigrants had no homes, no lands. Many of them had been born in the gardens and did not even know the names of their villages. The village people absolutely refuse to have anything to do with them. The villagers find it difficult to keep themselves from starvation, and therefore feeding the returned coolies is an impossibility. In the villages there are no industries in which these men might be employed, nor any kind of work can be found for the day labourers. It is futile to bring away the coolies from the gardens and send them to the villages, because 50 or 60 men are leaving daily for the gardens owing to the famine conditions prevailing there.” Indian labour can be divided into five groups: (1) The land labourers, who are the largest in number—about 30,000,000. Their chronic poverty, continual semi-starvation, are well known; it is bitterly illustrated by the fact that their earnings, including unemployed days, are between £4 and £6 per year. (2) The plantation workers, whom I have already described. The planters are organised, and consequently their misery is not growing. (3) The mine workers. In the mining districts rice is the main food of the miners. The price of clothing has gone up three times, but the wages have remained the same since 1918; the average wage is 6d. per day, and 300 working days a year. (4) The handicraft workers, numbering about 2,500,000 hand weavers and 8,700,000 metal wood, ceramic, and other

hand labourers. Their income, according to the calculation of the India Industrial Commission of 1916-18, was, weavers £2 7s. per year, and others £4 a year. (5) The factory going workers, who stand as the advance guard of the labour movement. To a certain extent the second and third groups are still the mainstay of the Nationalist leaders, whose opportunism is forcing the workers towards class-consciousness, as was proven during the plantation strikes of last year. The main principles of the Indian Trade Unions are as follow:—(1) The status of labour as a labourer, his relation to his employer, and effect on the economic and industrial life of the country. (2) The status of the labourer as a citizen, as related to the political movements and its result. (3) The status of the labourer in the industrial world, which has been rising ever since the Russian Revolution. These extracts are from the Madras Labour Union’s programme. It is said that the Union started with the first principle. “It was when the work of education was begun, when several questions were submitted by the Union men, that the second factor emerged. . . . In dealing with the second we were face to face with the necessity of recognising the third factor.” It is further given out that in formulating these principles very little help was received from the educated class. “The workpeople themselves, with a culture of their own, vaguely felt, but were unable to express what was passing in their mind, and what was bound up in the three factors described above.” The value of solidarity has already been realised by the Indian workers. The president of the Madras Union, Mr. Wadia, writes “Indian labour understands that men working on the railway in Punjab, in the mills of Bombay, in the engineering shops of Bengal, are no better off than those working in the mills of Messrs. Binney & Co., Madras. The distance of a few hundred miles makes no difference in their solidarity, which alone will lead them to the final victory, the destruction of wage slavery.” About the International he says: “The fate of the International is in the balance, what with the activities of the Second and Third, but as soon as a properly constituted International begins to work the Indian labourers will naturally ally themselves with the movement. The labourers, by themselves, are not sufficiently organised; they are not educated in the modern method of political struggle, and, therefore, if a long, weary fight between labour and capital, between landlordism and peasantry, is to be avoided, the Indian labourer must gain moral and other support from his comrades and brothers in other parts of the world.” The Unions in India were not recognised by the capitalists at the beginning, and the government backed their attitude. But the strength of the movement has forced recognition upon both of them. In November, when the Second Congress was to have taken place, the Mine Owners’ Association opposed it and requested the Government to send the military to disperse it, but the Government refused. Consequently the conference went on unhampered, and the clever bourgeoisie, finding it not possible to fight labour face to face, adopted the diplomatic method and sent a deputation to make friendly relations with the workers, but not with the labour leaders. This capitalist deputation apologised for its former opposition and agreed to adopt 44 hours a week instead of 72, in addition to some other minor concessions.

The direction of this potential revolutionary labour movement in India is in the hands of people who can be classed into four groups (1) The Nationalists; (2) The Reformists; (3) The Government and capitalist agents; and (4) the leaders who have come out from the ranks of the labouring class. (1) The foremost of the Nationalist politicians interested in labour is Mr. Lajpat Rai. He is the veteran centrist leader, a rich advocate, a journalist and landowner, but very orthodox. The same Mr. Rai in the year 1920 shamelessly condemned the printers’ strike of Lahore because it touched his pocket. Despite this, in 1921, a year afterwards, he was elected as president of the First All-Indian Trade Union Congress. The union leaders who elected him to preside, by this action alone, demonstrated their real character. Another Nationalist labour leader is Mr. B. K. Chakrabarty, an advocate, landowner, and multimillionaire. He was the president of the Calcutta Tramway Workers’ Union, one of the most virile groups of Indian workers. Dr. R. K. Mukherji, a bourgeoisie economist and professor, is a leader of a small national centrist group. He was delegated from the Bengal Unions to the First Congress of the Trade Unions. Some dozen other such advocates and professors can be shown to be interested in trade unionism; it is the fashion, at present, to become a labour leader in India. This is due to the fact that the nationalists understand the power of the industrial labour movement and want to control it; besides, it wants to frighten the Government with the organised force of the unions for political purpose. (2) Mr. Gandhi, the now imprisoned leader of the Indian nationalists, also tried his hand on the trade unions, but without much success. He left the labour field after the workers of the textile mills of Ahmedabad, Gandhi’s native town, refused to break the strike on terms agreed between himself and the nationalist mill owners. He said: “We must not tamper with the labourers. It is dangerous to make political use of the factory proletariat“ (The Times, May, 1921). The most prominent leader of the labour movement is Mr. B. P. Wadia. It was he who first started the labour unions in India. Wadia is an ex-member of the Indian Home Rule League (a moderate political organisation with a programme to achieve self-government by gradual concessional process) and a well-known theosophist. He is president of five virile unions in Madras. He says that the economic aim of the Indian labour movement is not only to get higher wages, etc., but the ultimate destruction of wage slavery. In his opinion the international labour movement is too materialistic, and lacks a soul. This spiritual task, he contends, is a special one left for the Indian workers to develop. His reformist attitude became most marked in his evidence on labour reform, given before the Joint Parliamentary Committee, which collected material to find the best means of introducing political reforms into India. He said: “It is my considered opinion that Indian Ministers are better fitted to carry out adequate factory reforms than the Official Executive.” The next leader in importance is the reformist Indian Labour leader, Mr. Joseph Baptista. He was president of the Second Congress of the Indian Trade Union Congress. Four months before the Congress, on the 29th July, he addressed a mass meeting requesting them to follow the pacificism preached by Gandhi. He was met with cries of “Shame.” The chairman of this meeting was Mr. Jamnadas Dwarkadas, a well known member of

the Bombay Mill Owners’ Association, and among those present on the platform was Mr. R. Williams, chief Publicity Bureau officer of the Government of Bombay. This bureau was specially created to fight the revolutionary tendency of the masses. Mr. Baptista came to the forefront after Colonel Wedgewood’s visit to India, and though we do not know of any relation or agreement between them we know that Mr. Baptista is following the policy of the very moderate I.L.P. Labour M.P., and is introducing Fabian Socialism to India. In his presidential speech he declared that: “The political policy of the Congress must steer clear of extreme Individualism and Bolshevism and follow the golden path of Fabian Socialism.” The Government and capitalist agent types of labour leaders are Mr. Lokhande, of Bombay; Dr. Nair, of Madras, and Mr. Jones, of Calcutta. Jones was the general secretary of the All-Indian Railwaymen’s union. He was the J. H. Thomas of India, and he had to resign because his treachery became too well known. The charges against the first two are so well known that Comrade Saklatvala had to warn everybody against them recently in the Labour Monthly. Regarding these types of labour leaders, there are very few Indians amongst them; they are mostly Europeans residing in India. We want European assistance, but we do not desire moderate Labourism of the I.L.P. brand. It is here that the British Communist Party can and ought to help us directly. The labour leaders who have come from the masses themselves are not very well known. One who has become prominent is Comrade Viswanandda, leader of the miners of Bihar. At the Second Congress he declared that “If the present misery of the workers of India is allowed to continue nothing will stop Bolshevism. Let them take due warning, because the Indian workers are determined to become the rightful owners and rulers of the wealth produced by their labour.” These mass leaders lack a definite viewpoint. They have picked up, here and there, some news of the Russian revolution from the bourgeoisie newspapers, and a few Communist ideas have influenced them. But they are our men, and we ought to gather them together for the Indian Communist Party and then push them to take leadership of the unions. This is the immediate task of the Party. But in India there is no strong Communist Party, and it will take some time to create an effective one. The Internationals are not yet in touch with India, and at the present rate no one knows how long it will take them to reach the native masses. On the other hand, as I have shown, the Indian Fabians and moderates are spending all their energy to capture the masses. That they are somewhat successful may be seen in the growing timidity of the strike movement. The Indian workers have been flattered by the moderate labour leaders, and have been urged to be contented with the little increases in wages, etc., which were won during the time of the great strikes. The British Labour Party is also busy with the Indian workers and their unions. These British leaders must understand, however, that the industrial victories of the English workers can only be maintained by co-operation with the Indian masses. For their own interests, therefore, the British workers must stand on common ground with their

coloured comrades of India. The tie of economic interests that binds them is very close. The British Labour Party, which expects to control the governing power very soon, must stop fooling the Indian masses by pushing the Baptista moderate type of labour leader. On the other hand the organising radical societies in England for helping the Indian workers must show the International comrades that the real driving force in Indian emancipation rests in the organised power of the native masses.

Labour Movement in India as Reflected in the Indian Labour Year Book 1997
C.N. Subramanian The official labour statistics despite their many limitations can be useful in assessing the status of the labour movement in the country. The present article seeks to identify issues that emerge from these statistics and are relevant for the labour movement today. The idea is not to provide definitive conclusions but rather raise issues that need to be taken up for a more careful and reliable study. Size and Structure of the Labour Force Wage workers and non-wage earners One of the first issues of concern of course is the relative size of the proletarian labour force in the population. The Indian Labour Year Book 1997 (hereafter the yearbook) provides some interesting information in this regard. We are told that according to the 1991 census, ‘workers’ constituted 37.5% of the entire population of the country. The term ‘workers’ here should be taken to mean all those gainfully employed and not as wage-workers. Out of these, ‘cultivators’ accounted for 38.41%. Likewise animal herders, hunters, fishers, etc. accounted for another 1.90%. In other words 40% of the working population of the country were petty producers and small property owners. Peasants, Agricultural Workers and Industrial Workers Interestingly the ‘cultivators’ are a dwindling segment of the population for there has been a steady and telling increase in the population of rural wage workers termed ‘agricultural labourers’ in the year book, presumably at the cost of the former. Thus we are informed that agricultural labourers who constituted only 24.04% of the rural work force in 1961 accounted for no less than 40.26% of the rural work force in 1991. This is a clear indication of the gradual proletarianization of the rural population. It should be borne in mind that these are national averages – the figures for most of the ‘developed’ states are far higher. Thus Kerala tops the list with 67%, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 59% and Tamil Nadu with 58%. Most of the other developed states like West Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab have a rural proletarian population well above the national average. It is in the states with a large tribal population like the North-eastern

states and Madhya Pradesh where the process of proletarianization has been proceeding at a slower pace. (The figure for Uttar Pradesh is intriguing - a mere 26%.) To sum up the above discussion, it would seem that the proletarians constitute less than 60% of the working population of the country. Of these the agricultural labourers constituted the largest segment accounting for more than 44% of all wage workers. Two features mark this segment of the working class - firstly, it is the least organised, most dispersed and perhaps the most oppressed segment of the class. Secondly, it is a growing segment and its new entrants in all probability being the marginal and dispossessed peasants. Coming to the mining and manufacturing sectors we see the workers engaged in them to be but a small segment of the total working force. Together workers in the two sectors account for 10.8% of all the work force and perhaps 18.8% of all wage workers.

Distribution of Working Population by Industrial categories (1991 census) Workers % of Wage % of Working Category (in 000s) Earners Population Cultivation 107,143 --38.41 Agricultural workers 73,753 44.30 26.44 Pastoralism, fishing plantations, etc. 5,306 1.90 Mining etc. 1,717 1.03 0.62 Household manufacturing industry 6,743 4.05 2.42 Non-household industry 21,650 12.00 7.76 Construction 5,434 3.26 1.95 Trade & Commerce 20,818 12.50 7.46 Transport etc. 7,843 4.71 2.81 Other services 28,535 17.13 10.23 Total 278,940 100.00 100.00 Concentration of Industrial Workers Marxists have always considered the industrial workers as the vanguard of the proletariat. We have just seen that it constitutes less than 20% of the class. The strength of the working class movement depends not only on its absolute numbers but also on its strategic strength due to concentration in the work place. The larger the number of workers per factory the greater is potential to organise and engage in collective action and bargaining. The Year Book does gives us figures for this but these figures are less reliable than the census figures we used above. They are based on the information collected by the inspectors of factories known for their corruption and inaccuracies. For example, the

census figure for workers engaged in non-household manufacturing is 21,650,000. According to the information supplied by the factory inspectors the total number of workers working in factories is only 9,125,403. In other words the factory inspector covers only about 42% of all industrial workers. Besides the legendary corruption of the labour department part of the reason for this anomaly is also the fact that the labour department only takes into account workers actually working on any one day in a factory, thus reserve workers etc. get left out. The second major cause of discrepancy is the fact that most of the factories understate the number of employees or do not file a return at all. The labour authorities connive in this. One must therefore be clear that the inferences that we may draw on the question of the concentration of the working class based on such information would have a very large margin of error. We are told that in all there were 227,130 factories in which worked 9,125,403 workers (a figure which includes some white collar workers too) in the year 1994. If we were to divide the second figure by the first we would get 40 workers to a factory. This is the national average. For the more developed states it varies from 26 for Kerala to 100 for West Bengal most of the rest ranging between 45 and 60. An interesting dimension to this problem is provided by the Indian Labour Statistics 1994. The figures are for 1993. The Labour Statistics disaggregates the figure and gives us the distribution between public and private sectors. Public Sector No. of factories Employment in 000s Average 8,694 2,170 250 Private Sector No. of factories Employment in 000s Average 206,431 6,758 33 The government, even though it employs only less than one third of the industrial workers, facilitates a greater concentration of the work force by employing seven times more workers per factory. (Needless to say the actual difference may not be so high for the public sector units have to file more accurate returns while the private firms are not under such a pressure.) Even allowing for a large error margin it seems justified to conclude that on an average a typical factory is a small one employing less than 50 workers, working under the close paternal supervision of the employer or his manager. The concentration of workers is definitely more in the public sector undertakings. Likewise the concentration of workers is not uniform all over the country - some states like West Bengal having 101 workers per factory and Kerala having as less as 26 per factory. It is hazardous to use these average figures to arrive at a definitive conclusion but it would appear from the above table that only about 21% industrial workers work in factories with more than 100 workers. Industries which have a high concentration of

labour have been highlighted. It would be interesting to see if concentration of work force has in any way facilitated the labour movement in those sectors. Other statistics, however, indicate a higher concentration of industrial workers so that 36.7% of workers in 1987-88 were employed in factories which had more than 1000 workers (Calculated from A.N. Agarwal et al., ‘India Economic Information Year Book’, 1991-92, Delhi). Summing up Two points emerging from the above discussion may have serious implications for the labour movement: firstly, that petty producers (non-wage earners) account for nearly 40% of the productive population; secondly, of all wage workers the industrial proletariat accounts for less than 11%. This in effect implies that capitalist development is yet to displace precapitalist forms of production and that socialization of production that forms the basis for socialist revolution is still a distant goal. In other words the overwhelmingly large segment of the labouring people in the country cannot be treated as having been objectively placed in the role of vanguard of social change. In fact of all wage workers as noted above, the rural proletariat which is by its very nature dispersed and largely unorganized accounts for about 44%. Further, those associated with trading, transport and other activities account for about 37% of all wage workers. These too are very dispersed and poorly organised. Thus nearly 80% of the proletariat is engaged in non-factory sectors. The significance of the numerical preponderance of the non-industrial proletariat needs to be seriously considered. It is obvious that there is a great responsibility on the workers of the more concentrated sectors to organise themselves and provide leadership to the large majority of unorganized workers. They also have the responsibility of taking up the causes of the marginal farmers and tribal people and winning them over to the cause of socialist transformation. It also indicates the low degree of socialization of production whose implications for the political programme of the working class need special consideration. Movement of Wages There is a somewhat neglected section in the Year Book which gives the movement of real wages of workers (p.37). For some technical reasons it is not possible to compare the figures from 1961 but it is possible to compare the figures from 1983 to 1995. Real earnings of employees in the manufacturing sector 1983-1995 (for workers earning less than Rs.1600 pm) (Base year – 1983) Year Earnings 1983 100

1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

98 92 88 83 82 69 70 69 59 60 51 46

This offers a clear proof of erosion of workers’ real earnings, which in a decade has fallen drastically to less than half. The steep fall seems to have occurred after 1992 coinciding with the onset of the new phase of globalization and the strengthening of the communal forces in the country. The year 1973-74 saw the heyday of the Indian labour movement; as many as 47% of all workers in the country were involved in strike action in 1974. Worker’s action i.e., strikes accounted for as many as 83.5% of all mandays lost due to industrial disputes. In other words workers held the initiative in industrial action that year. The very next year saw the imposition of internal emergency and the strikes were ruthlessly suppressed and the initiative returned to the capitalists. Thus in the last year of the emergency mandays lost due to lock-outs far outstripped the mandays lost due to strikes. They accounted for 90% of all mandays lost. It was after the emergency was lifted and democratic rights were restored that the labour movement revived. It almost reached the pre-emergency levels in 1979. The ruling classes panicked and once again restored the Congress government in 1979. Once again the labour movement shows a downturn. The present writer has not had access to data for the period between 1982 and 1987. But the decade that follows 1987 shows a definite decline in the labour movement especially after 1991. It is intriguing to note that despite a constant increase in the size of the working class there is an absolute decline in the number of workers participating in strikes. The intensity of the strike action as reflected in the average duration of the strikes also shows a decline. There was an upswing in 1989-90 and the trend lasted till 1992 when strikes caused a loss of over 151 lakh mandays. But this movement seems to have affected a limited sector of the class as the percentage of all workers participating in the strikes is less than 10%. The large number of mandays lost is more due to the intensity of the strike (an average of over 19 days per striker). It may not be farfetched to conclude that the ruling classes once again faced a serious erosion of authority in the years 1989-1992. This forms the background to the deliberate and large-scale instigation of communal movements as seen in the Ramjanmabhoomi movement led by the RSS. This was also the period in which the

international capital came in with a helping hand with the IMF loans and the attendant extension of the stranglehold of the World Bank. This was also the period of the final collapse of the Soviet Union and the disarray it caused in the left movements. This period was however not one of industrial peace. It saw a major capitalist offensive, the capitalists wresting initiative from the workers. In 1981 only 17% of the workers affected by industrial unrest were off work due to lock outs. However in 1996-7 the corresponding figures doubled. The intensity of the lock outs also increased in this period, though it was not so consistent. To conclude, it is a matter of concern that the strike action, the conventional form of class struggle waged by the working class, seems to be declining in the last decade. For example, it seems that less than 6% of the workers seem to be participating in strike actions in recent years as compared to as many as 47% in 1974. We need to investigate if this trend only hides the emergence of newer forms of struggle not evident in the statistics or if there is actually such a radical decline in the militancy of the working class.

Year Workers % of all 1
1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 2 937,291 1,158,107 1,162,303 872,482 767,484 672,024 626,326 682,595 608,573 637,480 3 na na 13.2 10.0 8.8 7.5 6.8 na na na

% of Mandays Average Workers % of Mandays Average involved workers affected lost duration involved affected lost duration workers workers 4 78.6 84.8 88.9 65 61 70.5 74 69 65 65 5 12,529,895 10,695,112 10,639,687 12,428,333 15,132,101 5,614,515 6,651,054 5,719,961 7,817,869 6,295,365 6 13.3 9.2 9.1 14.2 19.7 8.3 10.6 8.3 12.8 9.8 7 253,742 206,147 145,560 469,540 484,741 281,843 220,103 307,100 330,631 343,787 8 21.3 15.2 11.1 35 38.7 29.5 26 31 35 35 9 21,417,030 21,968,265 13,446,483 13,999,759 16,126,643 14,686,138 14,332,028 10,569,608 12,466,934 10,676,024 10 84.4 106.6 92.3 29.8 33.2 52.1 65.1 34 37.7 31

Click here to return to the September 2000 index. Special Conference: “Trade union and social movements: what is in it for us?” Oslo, October 16-17, 2008 Organised by Fagforbundet (Norway), in co-operation with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Ronaldo Munck is director of Foresight & Strategy at Dublin City University and visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Liverpool. He has worked and researched in his native Latin America and in Southern Africa as well as Western Europe and North America. For many years he has worked on international development and international

labour issues. His books include Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm (London, 1999); and Globalisation and Labour: The new 'Great Transformation' (London, 2002), Globalisation and Contestation: The New Great Counter-Movement (London, 2007) and Globalisation and Migration: New Challenges, New Politics (London, 2008). Professor Munck is co-editor of an online Irish journal on migration issues: Translocations ( Introduction “Thoughtful trade unionists have come to recognise that playing safe is the most risky strategy. The present is either the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end” (Hyman, 2004: 23). Up to a decade ago many labour movement strategists and analysts would probably have thought they were witnessing the beginning of the end of labour as a major political voice. 'There is no alternative' was not just a slogan of the political right but a palpable feeling in the general atmosphere. But by the turn of the century the mood began to shift as the labour movement regained some ground after the long neo-liberal onslaught. Maybe we were now at the 'end of the beginning' of a new era where the workers and their organisations would begin to impact on the new global order they had helped to create. That is the premise of this presentation. It is not, however, a falsely triumphal vision, but rather a realistic appraisal of the challenges of globalisation and possible responses by the labour movement. If we go back one hundred years we would see the formation of the trade union movement taking place as part and parcel of the formation of a national working class (see Van Der Linden, 2003). Industrialisation, urbanisation and unionisation all went hand-in-hand. And it all happened within the clear parameters of an existing nation-state or one in formation. In the original industrialised countries the formation of a labour movement was inseparable from the national and social integration of the working people. In the colonial world the creation of a working class was inseparable from the development of a nationalist anti-colonial movement. When the cycle of great revolutions began in Russia in 1917 through to China in 1945 thereafter the workers' movement was inevitably tied to the fortunes of the 'socialist fatherland' struggling against a hostile imperialist environment. So, from the 1870s through to the 1970s to put it crudely, workers organised within nation states in combinations (trade unions) set within those parameters and they addressed their grievances towards that nation state seen as the arbiter of a predominantly national class struggle over the distribution of wealth. What began to occur in the last quarter of the twentieth century was the break up of the dominant nation-state-based economic model as what we now call globalisation kicked into gear. Economic internationalisation had flourished previously (1870-1914) but this time round its momentum seemed unstoppable. The potential threat of an alternative social and political order had evaporated with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The 1990s were the period of easy globalisation: the corporations, the international economic organisations and the dominant nation-states paved the way for a new 'marketfriendly' order. The trade unions oriented toward the nation-state found that the centre of gravity had shifted elsewhere. Back in the 1970s there had been sporadic moves towards trade union internationalism in a number of sectors but now a global outlook had become an imperative. A gradual realisation came across the labour movement that the old corporatist arrangements and partnerships with employers were no longer to be a viable mechanism to defend, let alone advance, the interests of working people. It is a known historical fact that labour movements take up to a decade to respond to the changing patterns of capital accumulation and employer strategies (see Arrighi, 1996). What we have begun to see from 2000 onwards is a clear recognition from the international trade union movement that globalisation is a new paradigm which demands new strategies, tactics and organisational modalities. So in 1997 the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions had declared that globalisation posed “the greatest challenge for unions in the 21st Century” (ICFTU, 1997). If the creation of a global economy was producing a global workforce then global unions might seem a logical development. But global economic power does not necessarily call forth a symmetrical global social counter-movement. The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation captured well the new mood when it declared that “the trade union movement must reinvent itself in order to deal with the challenges of the 21st Century” (Kloosterboer, 2007: 1). This will involve local, national and international action, basic organising and engaging in the battle of ideas. Our task is to assess the achievements and limitation of this complex and difficult but essential task, especially now after the virtual collapse of the neo-liberal freemarket financial model. Challenges While globalisation had undoubtedly signaled the end of 'business as usual' by the labour movement it has generated a whole range of innovative responses as well as steadily increasing analysis (see Munck, 2002; Harrod and O’Brien eds 2002; Silver, 2003; Phelan, 2006; Bronffenbrenner, 2007; Stevis and Boswell, 2008; Webster, Lambert and Bezuidenhout, 2008; Bieler, Lindberg and Pillay, 2008; and Huws, 2008)). This innovation has been seen at the local, national, regional and global levels. Sometimes the turn has been pragmatic and sometimes advances have been only partial. However, we could now say that globalisation has opened as many doors as it has closed. We must also realise that labour responses at the global level are not in a zero-sum relationship with other national or local responses. There is no “one best way” (as Taylorism claimed to be) for labour responses to globalisation where flexibility is the only given. The Dutch trade unions have argued persuasively for the type of 'innovative trade union strategies' needed today to contest neo-liberal globalisation: “it will involve organising new groups hitherto under-represented in the movement, local and transnational actions, a clear orientation towards social justice and coalitions with community groups and, last but not least, a vigorous engagement in the battle of ideas in terms of a vision for an alternative

social order” (FNV, 2008: 2-13). Of course, implementing this vision in practice is not so simple, it requires ‘buy in’ and a change of mid sets at all levels of the workers movement At the end of the twentieth century international trade unionism was confronted by a tragic paradox. There were more wage earners than ever before, around three billion according to Freeman (2006). The new International Congress of Trade Unions (ITUC) and Global Unions together have more than 150 million members and cover more countries, unions and workers than ever before. This was due to the incorporation of most of the formerly communist and national-populist unions. But neo-liberal globalisation implied the simultaneous weakening of traditional unionism's century-old nationalindustrial base, the shift of that base to countries of the South (particularly China), the undermining of traditional job security and union rights, and the decline or disappearance of support from social-democratic parties, social-reformist governments and the most powerful inter-state agencies. Moreover, the unions were being confronted with a fact that – ensconced in their industrial, national or industrial-relations cocoons – they had never previously felt it necessary to face: in this globalising world of labour maybe only one worker in 18 was unionised. Finally, with the disappearance of their competitors in Communist or national-populist unions, the ICFTU/GU found itself not only in an alien and hostile world but ideologically disoriented. Previously it had been able to see itself not only as representing the most advanced union model but as part of the 'free West', opposed to both Communist and national-populist unionism. Now it found itself left behind by the globalisation of capital and the decreasing political interest of the international hegemons. If the union internationals initially responded in equal measure with disorientation and retreat, they are now increasingly raising the old notion of 'social partnership' with capital and state from the national to the global level. This has implied a series of specific campaigns, addressed sometimes directly to multinational corporations, sometimes to the international financial institutions and other promoters of globalisation such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Economic Forum and so forth. Over the years, the global union federations have established an ongoing social dialogue with a number of multinational enterprises in their sectors or industries (Justice, 2002: 96). The three major areas of this union work are international labour standards, codes of conduct and corporate social responsibility policies (Jenkins, Pearson and Seyfang, 2002). Such voluntary global social contracts have been presented on a slightly more public stage by union endorsement of the UN's Global Compact. This is another voluntary initiative, aiming to 'mainstream' socially responsible business activities through policy dialogues, learning and other local projects. Union support for the Global Compact, even though the initiative lacked the power of enforcement or even monitoring, was revealed in a joint UN-ICFTU/GU declaration in 2000: It was agreed that global markets required global rules. The aim should be to enable the benefits of globalisation increasingly to spread to all people by building an effective framework of multilateral rules for a world economy that is being transformed by the

globalisation of markets ... the Global Compact should contribute to this process by helping to build social partnerships of business and labour (ICFTU, 2000b). More recently we have seen union co-sponsorship of the ILO's World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation (also dominated by statespeople, corporate figures and academics) which has published a report on Fair Globalisation: Creating Opportunities for All. From the perspective of the great financial fall that began in autumn 2008 this perspective seems extremely limited and self-limiting indeed. When the theoretical organs of the financial bourgeoisie such as the Financial Times and The Economist openly proclaim the end of self regulating market capitalism it does seem pretty lame to call for ‘fair’ globalization. While such efforts suggest a reorientation in reaction to globalisation, international trade unions are also continuing their traditional efforts at union building, in defence of labour rights and in support of workers and unions internationally (see Fairbrother and Hammer, 2005 for a review). This seems to involve new and more assertive language. An exemplar might be the International Transport Workers Federation, the 2002 Congress of which was devoted to the theme of 'Globalising Solidarity'. A turning point in its practical solidarity activity is indicated by, on the one hand, its failure to effectively support the Liverpool dock workers during the major lockout of 1995-8 and its more effective support for the Australian dock workers during a related dispute later. But much national and international union solidarity activity is still carried out under the rubric of 'development co-operation' and financed by the state or inter-state organisations. At other times such activity is combined with union-to-union or worker-to-worker solidarity, as possibly with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU Global Solidarity). It is, however, notable that most of this solidarity appears to be in a North-South direction. A more holistic, multi-faceted and multi-directional notion of labour solidarity is yet to emerge, and the ICTU website reveals only an implicit recognition of the broader global solidarity movement. However, what the historical parallels of the late 19th Century and the emergence of the contemporary union movement teach us is that this necessary shift will not be smooth and organic. It is more likely that alternative social forces (the 'informal sector' for example) and geographical locations (the South, China) will challenge and subvert the current structures and strategies. There are signs that trade unions are looking towards the new social movements. Even in the USA, as Dean Clawson shows: “Labor's links with other [social movement] groups are denser and stronger than they have been for half a century ...” (2003: 205), and this interaction has led to new, more progressive policies for example, in relation to undocumented immigrants. Frances O'Grady, deputy general secretary of the British Trade Union Congress has recognised that: “Growing globalisation has demonstrated ever more vividly that going it alone [for the unions] is not an option” (O’Grady, 2004), and that not only do they need to engage seriously with the global justice movement, but if they wish to change the world they will need to start by changing themselves.

I will focus now on the challenge of migration for a number of reasons. First of all it is an issue which causes severe discomfort for neo-liberal thought. Its one-time guru Milton Friedman is reported to have said that “About migration the least said the better.” This is understandable because there appears to be no logical reason why if capital, investment and ideas should flow freely across national frontiers then why not labour? At present international mobility is only granted to a very small elite of professional workers when their skills are required in the affluent countries. For the mass of the world's workers national borders are, if anything, less permeable in the so-called era of globalisation than in the past. Migration is securitised and the full panoply of state surveillance and repression falls on those who take globalisation at its word and go off to improve their situation. Despite some tentative international discussions about the need for a World Migration Organisation on a par with the WTO to regulate migration, it is most likely to remain as a messy and fuzzy issue for the managers of global capitalism. Could it be an opportunity for the social counter-movement now challenging the undisputed role of the unregulated market? Historically the trade union movement has also had severe difficulties in dealing with migration in a way which accorded with its basic principles. Labour activists and analysts imbued with the spirit of labour internationalism too often forget how workers draw on non-class forms of identity to protect themselves from the maelstrom of capitalist restructuring. While capital may well treat labour as an undifferentiated commodity workers invariably find bonds of gender, place and race to create solidarity around in their struggle to keep some kind of advantage in the chaos caused by modernisation/globalisation. For Giovanni Arrighi: “As a consequence, patriarchalism, racism and national-chauvinism have been integral to the making of the world labour movement” (Arrighi, 1990: 93). This is a history often overlooked in the annals of the official trade union movement (and its critics for that matter) which tend to airbrush out the sexism, racism and xenophobia which forms an integral element of most labour movements. To recognise it is, perhaps, the first step on the way to dealing with it, rather than relying on anodyne stories of solidarity and internationalism. There is perhaps a compelling argument that “solidarity with migrant workers is helping trade unions to get back to the basic principles of the labour movement” (David, nd). On the one hand trade unions have been facing a crisis of declining membership and influence over the last two decades. On the other hand many social and political organisations find themselves bereft of leadership on the question of migration. From either side of the argument therefore trade unions have now an opportunity as well as a challenge. Across the world trade unions are organising with and on behalf of migrant workers (see Kahman, 2002; Gray, 2007 and Wrench, 2004). Trade unions have made common cause with migrant-led associations and with NGOS supporting migrant workers and they have also sought to directly organise migrants (“workers are workers are workers” is a common slogan). Of course one effect of this drive is to minimise the ability of employers to use migrant workers to undercut pay and conditions for indigenous workers. Nevertheless, its net impact, as David puts it, is that “In response to economic globalisation, trade unions are organising the globalisation of solidarity in defence of migrants” (David, nd 74).

In the years to come international labour migration is bound to become more important both in quantitative terms but also in qualitative terms, because it may pose a defining point for the trade union movement. One such 'tipping point' was the Irish Ferries dispute in Ireland in 2005 (see Krings, 2007). A well-unionised cross-channel seafaring group was faced by a cost-cutting employer who decided that Latvian agency workers who could be paid half the legal minimum wage made good economic sense. The Irish trade union movement was shaken to its very foundations and rumours abounded about the imminent displacement of native workers by cheaper foreign imports. Very soon this dispute became a test case not least because it involved Ireland's largest trade union SIPTU (the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union). Mass mobilisations occurred and the employers were forced to negotiate by a government committed to social partnership. Nevertheless the nativist reaction was just under the surface: in one mass mobilisation official banners with “no slave ships in the Irish sea” jostled with other calling for “Irish jobs for Irish workers”. In the end the Irish labour movement made the improvement of conditions for migrant workers a 'deal breaker' in the next round of partnership talks. Equalising the conditions of labour upwards won over the temptation to blame the 'non-national' workers brought in by employers. Responses There have been, over the last decade, a number of coherent responses to the challenges of globalisation or rather, to its downsides. In terms of achieving stable global governance it had become clear by around 2000 that unless globalisation achieved a 'human face' it was not sustainable. Thus the World Bank became concerned with establishing a 'safety net' to protect those excluded from the basic means to a livelihood by the free-marketisation implicit in globalisation. Even the much-vaunted Washington Consensus which set the tone for the 1990s in terms of an economic policy centred around privatisation, marketisation and liberalisation, was subject to an internal critique and revision. All of these reforms from above were designed to make globalisation more palatable, and not really to change its fundamentals. In relation to the world of work it was the International Labour Organisation which in 1999 created a new paradigm through its overarching strategy to achieve 'decent work'. Decent work was conceived as the main underpinning for social and economic progress in the era of globalisation and the vehicle for delivering the aspirations of people in their working lives. The International Labour Office (ILO) was set up in 1919 to promote labour standards and embed the economy in society. In Polanyian terms it would take labour out of the market place where it could be bought and sold like any other commodity. The ILO would set labour standards designed for varying national system of regulation. These would help regulate the national labour markets and offer protection for employees. These were assumed to be in stable full-time employment and predominantly male. There was also an explicit assumption that the Western European model of 'social partnership' was universal. This was the labour policy for the Keynesian era based on fullemployment and the efficacy of macro-economic policy management. All this was to

change in the late 1970s as Keynesianism was swept aside by the neo-liberal revolution. By the mid 1980s even in the European heartlands the ILO world had collapsed. Unemployment was rife, and the crisis of 'competitiveness' was blamed on the social model, including the protective regulation at the core of the ILO's raison d'être and the nefarious interference of collective bargaining institutions seen as distorting the market. In the late 1980s the ILO played a modest role during the disintegration of the Soviet system through the promotion of a social market model against the free-market fundamentalists. However, in the 1990s as globalisation and labour market flexibility became dominant the ILO began to lose direction. The Decent Work campaign was designed to overcome this crisis and at one level it has become widely accepted, at least at official level. Concerned to present Decent Work as a non-ideological issue the ILO seems to have lost any sense of vision. As a campaign it is even a step back from the historic ILO 'labour directives' now subsumed under vague rubrics which are part of international law anyway such as the prohibition of child labour. The main problem is that the world of 2009 is not the world of 1919 or even 1969 when the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize. As Guy Standing puts it: “The ILO was set up as a means of legitimizing labourism, a system of employer-employee relations based on the standard employment relationship, and a means of taking labour out of international trade” (Standing, 2008: 380). Tri-partite labour relations are hardly dominant, the standard employment relationship survives only in small pockets, and labour is quite starkly a commodity on the global labour market. We could argue that 'decent work' is better than the 'race to the bottom'. Certainly it is motivated by a reformist urge but we can still question whether it is, or can be, a labour movement project. Peter Waterman has characterised the Decent Work campaign as “backward-looking utopianism” (Waterman, 2008). It certainly is premised on a world of nation states and orderly industrial relations which is either dying or never existed in most of the world. It is also Utopian in the sense that it is premised on the myth of a golden era of social harmony, which even in the imperial heartlands was not usually that real. Even so we might ask whether Decent Work could play a role for “poverty reduction and a fair and inclusive globalization” (ILO, 2008) as its proponents argue. Here, however, we need to be sceptical because of the inherent weakness of the ILO compared to the trio of global governance managers in the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. Global governance must promote a 'human face' for its essentially neo-liberal project if it is to be seen as legitimate. However, the capital accumulation project and the social legitimation drive are, of course, part and parcel of an overall programme of capitalist modernisation detrimental to labour. If the ILO's Decent Work campaign is unlikely to deliver a decisive breakthrough for the workers of the world what is the potential of the organised labour movement? We should start from the basis that labour is set within a context of global complexity. We appear to be in a transitional situation described generically by Gramsci a long time ago as an era when “the old is dying but the new has not yet been fully born” (Gramsci, 1971: 106). Clearly the old national-statist-corporatist model is no more but what will emerge from the current period of global turmoil is not entirely settled either. There are also many

contradictions within the global working class, not least the divisions based on the social and geographical positioning within the global division of labour. It is crucial therefore to understand the nature of its complexity of the pressures coming to bear on workers and their organisations. National-level trade unions may take up the economic or business unionism approach which once epitomised US trade unionism. They may also develop a political unionism oriented towards the state as potential benefactor as traditionally they did in Latin America. The regional dimension – too often neglected in analysis of labour and globalisation – can also take a more market orientation as labour does in Europe or it can move towards the social or state direction as they tend to do in Latin America. This is designed as a heuristic device to plot the possible strategies or combination of strategies that labour might deploy. The spatial dimension is not designed as a hierarchy with either global or local being better or more progressive in some way. It is simply seeking to articulate the complexity of choices and dilemmas facing labour in the era of globalisation. We could simply say that the new capitalism creates new types of workers and hence a new unionism will inevitably emerge. This would be closely modeled on the way in which the 'new social movements' and the World Social Forum organise. A networked society (Castells, 1996) will call forth a networked unionism. As a more democratic form of co-ordination it has captured the imagination. Yet there are many national, sectoral and ideological divisions to be overcome. Nor does the old labour movement problem of routinisation and bureaucracy disappear that easily. Organisation – of the unorganised and of the trade union and wider labour movements – is still an imperative. Many of the old problems still remain despite the much-vaunted arrival of a new capitalism. For example, we should probably need to reconsider the growing emphasis on the global domain to the detriment of the national. As Seidman put it recently: “Instead of boycotting brands, transnational strategies might look for strategies to push governments to strengthen labor law enforcement” (Seidman, 2008: 142). The new capitalism is underpinned by some remarkably traditional nation-states and capitalist classes in practice. Be that as it may there is now evidence of trade unions taking up a social movement orientation and not only in the global South. Thus in the very heartland of capitalism the US business unionism has been challenged since the 1930’s and increasingly in the 1990’s by a social justice or social movement unionism well described by Vanessa Tate (2005). The increasing weight of the informal economy more or less forced US trade unions to take up a broader orientation and they thus began to take ‘the form of a multifaceted political movement not limited to issues such as wages and benefits ‘ (Tate 2005: 8). Those in the informal sector were poor but they were also workers albeit often of a contingent status that deemed them ‘hard to organise’. But as workers of colour and women workers had in the past they organized themselves and often forced mainstream trade unions to organize in these sectors. These poor people’s movements often showed great degrees of inventiveness in period when the official labour movement was reeling from the organisational and ideological impact of neo-liberalism. They helped put the

movement aspect back into the broader labour movement and broadened the trade union agenda to take up housing and health care issues and an understanding that fair pay was as important as more pay. With an emphasis on the new – be it capitalism, work or unionism – we can often neglect the value of looking to the past. Marco Berlinguer of Lavoro in Movimento argues that: “to recreate politics we need to rediscover labour” (cited in Wainwright, 2008: 3). This might entail going back to the formative stages of the labour movement before the consolidation of nation-states. What globalisation has undoubtedly generated is a potentially stronger workers' movement than ever existed before. To generate a new labour politics fit-for-purpose in the era of globalisation involves, as Hilary Wainwright puts it: “a rethinking and reasserting of labour as social, co-operative process and itself potentially a commons” (Wainwright: 2008: 3). Several decades of boycott campaigns seeking to 'name and shame' renegade corporations have shown their limitations. The trend towards reconfiguring labour issues as human rights issues within a generic global civil society is also running out of steam. Now is perhaps the time when an incipient global labour movement rediscovers some of its original characteristics of combination, a common moral economy and an instinctive internationalism.

REFERENCES Arrighi, G. (1990) 'Marxist Century, American Century: The Making and Remaking of the World Labour Movement', New Left Review, No. 179, pp. 29-63. (1996) “ Workers of the World at Century’s End “, New Left Review, Vol. 19 No. 3. Bronffenbrenner, H. (Ed.) (2007) Global Unions. Challenging Transnational Capital Through Cross-Border Campaigns. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Bieler, A., Lindberg, I. and Pillay, D. (Eds.) (2008) Labour and the Challenges of Globalization: What Prospects for Transnational Solidarity? London: Pluto Press. Castells, M. (1996) The Rise of the Network Society Volume I: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. Clawson, D. (2003) The Next Upsurge. Labor and the New Social Movements. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. David, N. (nd) 'Migrants get unions back to basics', Trade Union World Fairbrother, P and Hammer, D (2005) Global Unions: Past Efforts and Future Prospects, Relations Industrielles/Industrial relations, Vol. 60 No 3, pp. 405-443. Freeman, R. (2006) 'China, India and the Doubling of the Labor Force: Who Pays the Price for Globalisation?',

Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Harrod, J. and O'Brien, R. (Eds.) (2002) Global Unions: Theory and Strategies of Organised Labour in the Global Political Economy. London and New York: Routledge. Gray, K (2007) 'From Human to Workers' Rights: The Emergence of a Migrant Workers' Union Movement in Korea', Global Society, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 297-315. Huws, U. (Ed). (2008) 'Break or weld? Trade union responses to global value chain restructuring', Work, Organisation, Labour and Globalisation, Vol. 2, No. 1. Hyman, R (2004) 'Agitation, Organisation, Diplomacy, Bureaucracy: Trends and Dilemmas in International Trade Unionism', Labor History, Vol. 45, No. 3. ICFTU (2000b) Joint UN-ICFTU State on the Global Compact. . ICFTU (1997) The Global Market. Trade Unionism's Greatest Challenge. Brussels: ICFTU. International Labour Office (2008) Measurement of Decent Work. Geneva: ILO. Jenkins, R., Pearson, R. and Seyfang, G. (Eds.) (2002) Corporate Responsibility and Labour Rights: Codes of Conduct. London: Earthscan. Justice, D. (2002) 'the International Trade Union Movement and the New Codes of Conduct', in R. Jenkins et al (Eds.) Corporate Responsibility and Labour Rights. London: Earthscan. Kahman, M. (2002) Trade Unions and Migrant Workers: Examples from the United States, South Africa and Spain. Brussels: ICFTU. Kloosterboer, D. (2007) Innovative Trade Union Strategies. Utrecht: FNV. Krings, T (2007) ‘Equal Rights for All Workers’: Irish trade unions and the challenges of labour migration”, Irish Journal of Sociology, Vol 16 No. !, pp. 43-61 Munck, R. (2002) Globalisation and Labour: The New 'Great Transformation'. London: Zed Books. O’Grady, F (2004) “ Globalisation makes unions and social movements natural allies”, The Guardian (October 16th). Phelan, C (Ed.) (2006) The Future of Organised Labour. Global Perspectives. Oxford: Peter Lang. Polanyi, K (2002) The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon.

Seidman, E. (2008) Beyond the Boycott. Labor Rights, Human Rights and Transnational Activism. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Silver, B. (2003) Forces of Labor. Workers' Movements and Globalization since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Standing, G. (2008) 'The ILO: An Agency for Globalisation?', Development and Change, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp 355-384. Stevis, D. and Boswell, T. (2008) Globalisation and Labor. Democratizing Global Governance. London: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing. Tait, V. (2005) Poor Workers’ Unions. Rebuilding labor from below. Cambridge, Mass: South End Press Van der Linden, M. (2003) Transnational Labour History. Aldershot: Ashgate. Wainwright, H. (2008) 'The commons, the state and transformative politics', Red Pepper, Waterman, P. (2008) Needed: A Global Labour Charter Movement. . Webster, E., Lambert, R. and Bezuidenhout, A. (2008) Grounding Globalisation. Labour in the Age of Insecurity. Oxford: Blackwell. Wrench, J. (2004) 'Trade Union Responses to Immigrants and Ethnic Inequality in Denmark and the UK: The Context of Consensus and Conflict' European Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp 7-30.

Labour Movement in India : 1923-1927 Documents, Vol. 4 and Vol. 5 (Set)
Edited by A.R. Desai and Sunil Dighe, Pragati, 2004, xvi, 512 p, 2 Vols, ISBN : 81-7307095-4, Rs. 2,495.00 (Free shipping within India only. No extras for postage and handling. 10% discount on purchases over Rs.1000)

Contents: Vol. IV: I. India and international organisations: Introduction. 1. India and International Labour Conferences. 2. The Geneva Conventions and recommendations: discussion in the central legislature. 3. International Labour Conference, 1923: agenda for the

fifth session. 4. International Labour Conference: sixth session. 5. General principles for the organisation of factory inspection. 6. International Labour Conference: sixth session. 7. Sixth session of the International Labour Conference. 8. Indian workers' view. 9. International Labour Organisation. 10. India in the International Labour Conference: Geneva, 28 May 1925. 11. India and Japan. 12. Geneva: 30 May 1925, speech delivered by Chaman Lal on the 30 May 1925. 13. International Labour Conference: the seventh session at Geneva. 14. Workmen's compensation: the new International conventions, comparison with Indian Act. 15. N.M. Joshi's speech. 16. International Labour Conference: position of India. 17. Geneva Conference: Indian workers' delegate interviewed. 18. The International Labour Conference: Geneva, 2 June, 1926. 19. Lala Lajpat Rai's speech. 20. International Labour Conference: decisions at Geneva meeting. 21. International Labour Conference. 22. Eighth session. 23. Ninth session. 24. Indian labour problems: Lajpat Rai's mission at Geneva. 25. India in the International Labour Conference. 26. International Labour Conference: conditions of work of seamen. 27. International Labour Conference: Giri's resolutions. 28. International Labour Conference: tenth session. 29. International Labour Conference conventions: two ratifications by India. 30. Resolution of the council of the League of Nations. 31. International labour agreements: ratifications in India. 32. Object of factory inspection. 33. International labour office. 34. General principles for the organisation of factory inspection: questionnaire. 35. International labour office: India's employers' delegate on its work. 36. Workmen's compensation and the International Labour Conference. 37. The International Federation of Trade Unions and its policy. 38. Programme for international social legislation adopted at the International Trade Union Congress. 39. India and British Commonwealth labour conference. 40. Commonwealth Labour Conference: London. 41. International Conference of official labour statisticians. 42. Utilisation of the workers' leisure. 43. Proposed Asiatic Labour Conference. 44. Third session of Joint Maritime Commission. II. Communism and labour in India: 1. Communism in India, David Petrie communism in India. 2. India at the fifth Comintern Congress: introduction. 3. Indian workers attend the fifth world congress of the CI. 4. Roy's speech in the fifth session. 5. National question in the communist international. 6. Concluding speech of Manuilsky on the national question. 7. Bolshevism in India. 8. Genesis of workers' and peasants' party of India: introduction. 9. Manifesto to Hindustan labourers and kisans for organising a political party of their own. 10. Labour Kisan party of Hindustan. 11. M.N. Roy's letter to S.A. Dange. 12. Ghulam Hussain's circular: workers and peasants of India, unite. 13. A memorandum to the conference for organising a working-class party in India. 14. To the first conference of the workers' and peasants' party of India. 15. A new party. 16. Good criticism but bad programme. 17. Formation of the Indian socialist labour party of Indian National Congress. 18. Labour-Swaraj Party--Forerunner of the workers' and peasants' party: introduction. 19. Constitution. 20. Langal. 21. Resources for education. 22. Labour leaders' conference. 23. A socialist group: to watch interests of workers. 24. AITUC and working class struggles. 25. On Trade Unionism. 26. The capitalist offensive in India. 27. D. Chaman Lal on trial. 28. Manifesto of the fourth congress of the CI to AITUC session at Lahore. 29. The third All-India Trade Union Congress. 30. Where are the masses? 31. First May for Indian workers. 32. End of three great strikes. 33. Strike struggles and fourth session of the AITUC: introduction. 34. Bombay strikes. 35. International affiliation. 36. Some facts about the Bombay strike. 37. Working-class struggles of 1925.

38. A labour party for India. 39. Mahatma and capitalism. 40. Point of view of the masses. 41. Point of view (Satyamurty and Bombay Mill workers' demand): a different view. 42. Anti-colonial congress. 43. Resolutions. 44. Full text of Pt. Nehru's speech. Vol. V: III. Working conditions of labour: Introduction. 1. The labourer's livelihood. 2. The outlook in industry. 3. Workmen's wages. 4. Indian factories during the year 1924: conditions under which factory labour worked. 5. Conditions in the Indian textile industry: British Trade Union report. 6. Competition. 7. Labour conditions. 8. Labour conditions in Assam. 9. Delhi boiler explosion. 10. White lead in painting: government decision regarding use. 11. Purcell's opinion of Indian labour conditions. 12. Housing problem: the development Chawls. 13. Development Chawls. 14. Housing in Bombay: development Chawls. 15. Enquiry into house rents in Bombay: progress of the enquiry. 16. Housing in Bombay: development Chawls. 17. Housing conditions in Ahmedabad: Sanitary Association's report. 18. Housing of labour in India. 19. System of fines in Industry: government enquiry as to the extent of fines. 20. Deductions from wages or payments in respect of fines: government enquiry as to its extent. 21. Fines in industry: results of labour office enquiry. 22. Deductions from wages or payments in respect of fines: summary of the results of the labour office enquiry. 23. Deductions from wages or payments in respect of fines: proposed legislation by the Government of India. 24. Principle of fines. 25. Necessity of legislation. 26. Fines for breaches of discipline. 27. Fines for bad and negligent work. 28. Compulsory purchase of damaged material. 29. Fines for damage to or loss of property. 30. Fining of children. 31. Conditions under which fines may be inflicted. 32. Power to fine. 33. Supply of particulars to workers who are fined. 34. Maintenance of registers of fines. 35. Extent to which fines may be inflicted. 36. Disposal of fines. 37. Deductions for supply of materials and tools. 38. Deductions in respect of rents for housing provided by employers. 39. Deductions for supply of medicines and medical attendance. 40. Deductions for supply of food grains. 41. Deductions for supply of water. 42. Deductions for contributions to provident funds. 43. Deductions for the use of reading rooms and libraries. 44. Deductions for education. 45. Deductions for compulsory contributions to Charity. 46. Deductions for entertainments provided by employer. 47. The 'Double Khada' rule (forfeiture of two days wages for one day's absence). 48. Withholding of wages. 49. Forfeiture of wages. 50. Advances and interest on advances. 51. The 'Havala' system (Pay order ticket in lieu of cash). 52. Prevention of monetary transactions amongst the workers. 53. Bonus for better work. 54. Scope of the measure. 55. Method of enforcement. 56. Gandhi and Saklatvala correspondence. 57. Shaw's advice: textile workers' right. 58. British workers' support to Indian labour. 59. European association and Indian labour. 60. Indian labour and English opinion. 61. May day celebration in Madras. IV. Chronicle of events: 1. Summary of Chief events 1923. 2. January - March 1924. 3. Chronicle of events. 4. January 1925. 5. January 1926. 6. January 1927. "Original documents are of prime importance for understanding history; particularly of the trade union movement right from its incipient stages, when the British created a labour force long before it even thought of industrializing India. ICHR realizing the importance of providing scattered documents for scholars, set about to publish 25

volumes in the series Labour Movement in India - Documents with A.R. Desai as the General Editor. This volume is a part of 2 volumes in 1923-27 series, when the movement grew and gathered strength, with the advent of industrialization. The documents also indicate their significance in the freedom movement in India and how it became a part of the international labour movement." (jacke

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