- Union membership down by 40%
- 10 lakh workers laid off in the last 10 years
- Unions targeting the 30 crore-plus unorganised workers
- Unions now perceive themselves as NGOs and facilitators
Gone are the days when trade unions and their leaders could send shivers down the spine of even the most lion-hearted of managers. Globalisation, liberalisation and the changing employer-employee relationship have diminished the power and relevance of the unions. So much so that they are now being forced to reinvent themselves. "Our very survival is at stake. When factories have disappeared, where will we hold a dharna? The days of murdabad, zindabad are long over," says one veteran trade union leader.
Man has been replaced by machine, industrialists have turned into traders, and contractual labour, VRS and productivity-linked wages have become the norm. The result: the number of organised workers has fallen dramatically. In the last decade, 2.5 lakh factories have downed their shutters and 10 lakh workers have been laid off, thereby...