5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

India

The ITUC affiliates in India are the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

In practice

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Health workers injured and arrested for staging protest march13-12-2015

Police arrested health workers (Accredited Social Health Activists – ASHA) on 13 December as they arrived in Kandi in the Medak district of Telangana state. They had been marching and protesting for five days. When the police arrived to break up the protest, about 20 workers were injured and five, including CITU Secretary K. Raiaiah, were taken to hospital. In another incident on the same day, scores of health workers were arrested by police in Kuknoorpally as they travelled from Sircilla to Hyderabad. There had been a number of protests by ASHA workers during the year over pay and working conditions.

200 childcare workers arrested following protest over unpaid wages31-12-2015

Up to 200 hundred Anganwadi (childcare) workers were taken into custody in December 2015 for taking part in protests to urge the government to implement the pay rise they were supposed to have received. Many reported that they had not been paid their low wages for over four months. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), which helped organise the protests, condemned the arrests, saying the women were fighting for their legitimate rights. The workers were also helping pay for the upkeep of the childcare centres out of their own pockets. The government did subsequently meet some of the workers’ demands, including one month’s paid medical leave, and the release of funds to build new centres.

Union secretary suspended for present workers’ demands 05-11-2015

On 5 November, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Amritsar, suspended the district secretary of its employees’ union Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Employees Union (BSNLEU). Three months earlier the union had written to management to demand the settlement of pending issues including the settlement of medical claim bills, and transfers. Management did nothing to settle the unions’ grievances, and the union believed the suspension of its secretary was in retaliation to their demands and repeated attempts at negotiation.

Mining company responds to organising drive with death threats and dismissal22-06-2015

Panchratna Mahakud , president of the Thriveni Mazdoor Sabha union, was dismissed by the Thriveni mining company on 22 June 2015 on sham charges. Prior to his dismissal B. Prabhakaran, the Thriveni owner and managing director, threatened to send him thousands of kilometres away and have him killed. Thriveni Mazdoor Sabha is a branch of the national federation of mineworkers’ unions, Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation (HKMF) , which had been running an organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. drive. The company had sought to prevent organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. through a campaign of intimidation, beginning with the sacking of seven union organisers in September 2014.

Power company uses court order to end employees’ protest20-07-2015

Rajdhani Power Ltd responded to peaceful protests and picketing picketing Demonstration or patrolling outside a workplace to publicise the existence of an industrial dispute or a strike, and to persuade other workers not to enter the establishment or discourage consumers from patronising the employer. Secondary picketing involves picketing of a neutral establishment with a view to putting indirect pressure on the target employer. by contract workers by seeking a court order. On 20 June 2015, one day after workers staged protests in south and west Delhi to defend their rights, the company sought a restraining order from the Delhi High Court, which prohibited employees from holding any protests within 500 metres of any of the company’s offices until 20 July.

Police prohibit industrial action by Delhi Metro Rail staff27-05-2015

A day after over 1000 non-executive staff members of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) adopted a “fast-and-work” policy and picketed the Yamuna Bank metro station demanding better salaries, on 27 May 2015, the Delhi Police issued prohibitory orders.

Nearly 2,500 non-executive staff members of the DMRC had been protesting since 5 May, wearing black armbands over their uniforms and picketing picketing Demonstration or patrolling outside a workplace to publicise the existence of an industrial dispute or a strike, and to persuade other workers not to enter the establishment or discourage consumers from patronising the employer. Secondary picketing involves picketing of a neutral establishment with a view to putting indirect pressure on the target employer. station platforms. Their principal demands were an increase in their basic pay, job security and a more accountable Staff Council.

More than 250 CITU members arrested09-06-2015

As many as 268 members of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) were arrested on 9 June 2015 when they staged a road block near Tirupur railway station to demand the respect of labour rights in industrial units. Their demands included a minimum wage of INR 15,000 for eight hour shifts, and overtime allowances for every extra hour worked, and the formation of trade unions in all industrial units.

Protestors detained in long-running pay dispute31-12-2015

On 31 December 2015 police detained union activists employed as contract workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) schemes. They were protesting outside the secretariat of the state government to express their frustration over low pay. They had had many meetings with the Rural Development Minister and other senior officials over the past seven years, but their situation had not been resolved. Furthermore, there had been advertisements for vacant posts at higher salaries, yet the contract workers who had been employed for years had not been offered regular contracts. Police tried to move the protesters on to the children’s park – out of the way of the Ministry and irrelevant to their protest. When the protestors refused, they were taken to the local police station and detained until reports had been filed.

Contract worker shot and injured during protest over pay26-09-2015

A private security guard shot and injured a construction worker at the Swiss cement multinational Holcim’s plant at Jamul, Chattisgarh, on Saturday, 26 September 2015. Workers had not been paid for over two months, and had staged a protest to demand their pay. They were abused and pushed and then shot at, leading to one worker being injured. Another worker, a member of the Pragtisheel Cement Shramik Sangathan (PCSS) that unionises contract workers, was beaten when he tried to record the incident.

Contract workers fare particularly badly at Holcim, which only pays them the minimum wage, despite Cement Wage Board guidelines stating they should be paid the same as permanent workers.

Lignite corporation sacks union leader and deducts workers’ wages after strike action03-11-2015

The management of Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) sacked the leader of one of its recognised employees’ unions in August for leading a 52-day-old strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
of contract workers during 2014. Thirumavalavan, president of DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front (LPF), was the subject of a year-long inquiry, and attended all disciplinary proceedings.

His dismissal came on top of a decision in July 2015 to seek a court order to restrain three leaders from the NLC Workers Progressive Union and the NLC Anna Workers and Staff Union from going on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
over a wage dispute. That strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
eventually went ahead on 20 July, called by 13 trade unions after talks with management broke down. It lasted until 27 August, without the workers’ demands being met. On 3 November NLC management announced it was deducting six days wages from members of the CITU NLC Labour and Staff Union for participating in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Union leaders detained day before protest06-09-2015

Police in Kashmir detained several trade union leaders on 6 September, the day before they were due to gather in Lal Chowk to protest at the government’s failure to assist victims of the previous year’s floods. The protestors had warned of a complete shutdown across Kashmir. One of the leaders was Shawkat Chaudhary, Chairman of the Kashmir Economic Alliance. He had pointed out that the international community had offered to help Kashmir following the floods, but that the central government had rejected outside assistance, saying it would help the victims. One year later, it had done nothing.

Government’s labour reforms set to undermine workers’ protection and trade union rights15-04-2015

In April 2015, the National Democratic Alliance government proposed integrating three labour laws – the Trade Unions Act 1926, the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act 1946 – into a single code for industrial relations industrial relations The individual and collective relations and dealings between workers and employers at the workplace, as well as the institutional interaction between unions, employers and also the government.

See social dialogue
. The unions protested that they had not had sufficient involvement in the preparation of the laws, which would undermine trade union rights and workers’ protection.

The draft code significantly altered how trade unions can be formed in factories and registered with the government. Under existing laws, seven members of a union could apply for registration irrespective of the establishment’s size. The draft bill proposed that at least ten per cent of the total employees or 100 workers would be needed to form a trade union.

The new draft also modified the definition of a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to include “casual leave on a given day by the 50 per cent or more workers employed in an industry”.

The new law contained no provisions to promote collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
, putting the emphasis instead on arbitration arbitration A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.

See conciliation, mediation
. Several provisions of the bill referred to either recognised or certified negotiating agents without providing for procedures for the recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of such agents. Furthermore, the bill provided that all office bearers of a registered trade union would have to be actually engaged or employed in the establishments or industry with which the trade unions is concerned, restricting a union’s freedom to choose its own officers.

Another provision would allow companies employing up to 300 workers to lay off staff without government permission, as against 100 workers previously. In India 85 per cent of manufacturing firms employ less than 50 workers, and around half of these workers are kept on short-term contracts and earn just USD 5 or USD 6 per day. The government’s proposals would deprive them of vital legal protections leaving them in even more precarious circumstances.

In September India’s central trade unions, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF 1. , called a nationwide strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in protest at the proposed reforms. Tens of millions took part in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The trade unions had presented a charter of 12 demands, which in addition to opposing the labour law amendments included a new minimum wage, the end to contract labour in permanent perennial work and payment of the same wages and benefits for contract workers as for regular workers for similar work, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers, compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting applications, as well as immediate ratification of ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Conventions 87 and 98.
In response to the protests, the government constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee and assured the unions that reforms will be based on consultations. No reforms had been passed by the end of 2015.

1. INTUC – Indian National Trade Union Congress; AITUC- All Indian Trade Union Congress; HMS-Hind Mazdoor Sabha (Workers’ Assembly of India); CITU-Centre of Indian Trade Unions; AITUC- All India Trade Union Congress; TUCC-Trade Union Coordination Committee; SEWA-Self-Employed Women’s Association; AICCTU-All India Central Council of Trade Unions; UTUC –United Trade Union Congress;
LPF-Labour Progressive Federation.

Twelve union activists arrested for strike action30-04-2015

Twelve union activists, including two women bus conductors – Padmasri Raje and Kalawati Narwade – were arrested and then released on bail in the city of Nanded, Maharashtra state, after management called in the police. In Maharashtra, 97 per cent of bus depots were closed because of blockades by the MSTKS union, while strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action by taxi, truck and auto rickshaw drivers caused the entire road transport network to collapse. The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was held to protest against a proposed new bill (Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014) that would have paved the way for the full-scale privatisation of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). The MSTKS union said the bill would among other things hand over the registration of vehicles to corporations as a first step. The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was called after an emergency meeting between State Transport Minister Divakar Raote and representatives of all transport unions in Mumbai. The Minister agreed not to implement the bill in Maharashtra.

Senior pilots lose the right to form unions31-08-2015

In April 2015, further to a request from Air India, the Civil Aviation Ministry sought an amendment to the 1947 Industrial Disputes Act to remove pilots and aircraft engineers from the “workmen” category under the Act, effectively taking away their right to form unions, and their right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. By excluding pilots and engineers from the “workmen category”, the airline can change their service conditions without issuing a notice as prescribed under law. These employees will also no longer be able to approach the Labour Commissioner or an industrial tribunal in the event of a dispute. Similarly, sacked employees (who are not workmen as defined in law) cannot appeal to the Labour Commissioner or tribunals and could only seek redress in civil courts.

The proposal to amend the law was initiated at the same time as Air India was facing a challenge in the Supreme Court for cutting employee salaries by 25 per cent without following the prescribed procedure of first notifying its employees’ unions.

The change was confirmed when the Ministry of Labour and Employment announced in August 2015 that “The duties and responsibilities of a Pilot in Command (PIC) are of managerial and administrative nature and may not fall under the workman category under the Industrial Disputes Act.”

Trade union leader victimised by Air India30-04-2015

L.S. Sibu, an official who worked in the ground-handling department of Air India at Trivandrum Airport and regional secretary of the Aviation Industry Employees Guild, was transferred to Hyderabad in early April. The move did not respect the rules governing transfers, and fellow employees and union members believed it was in retaliation for his exposure of management’s handling of certain issues, such as the transfer of the lucrative ground handling business to a private joint venture.

DHL continues its anti-union intimidation30-04-2015

In April 2015 the ITF reported that DHL had served 26 injunctions on union activists and leaders in an attempt to prevent them speaking out against labour rights abuses. Workers at DHL have been engaged in a struggle over union rights for many years. A detailed report commissioned by the ITF and based on extensive interviews with DHL workers, union officials and labour experts reveals threats, intimidation and discrimination against pro-union workers. Management have used punitive long distance staff transfers to target union activists and threaten their colleagues; have actively attempted to undermine existing unions; and are trying to prevent couriers from joining the union of their choice. As previously reported, DHL management has sought to classify couriers as “management” in an attempt to stop them joining a union, and appears to be trying to tie up the dispute in the courts for years.

Employers use police, security forces, contractors, etc. to get striking workers back to work 07-01-2015

Police charged workers at Jharkhand’s Rajmahal mine and arrested five at another mine on 7 January 2015 following a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
over the government’s coal block ordinance, which may allow private companies to mine and sell coal commercially.

“They are using the police, the Central Industrial Security Force, contractors and unsocial elements to force the strikers to join work,” said Ramendra Rai, chairman, AITUC. But the police action provoked the strikers and led to the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
becoming stronger, he added.

Coal is the most dominant energy source in India, meeting around 52 per cent of the country’s primary commercial energy needs. Coal India produces around 80 per cent of India’s overall coal and feeds 82 of the 86 coal-based thermal power plants. However, the company has fallen short of its output targets for the last six years, making the country the third largest coal importer despite sitting on the world’s fourth largest reserves of the fuel.

On 7 January 2015, the Coal India Limited reported that it shipped less than half its daily target, only 645,000 tonnes, which included the day’s production and stocks. It was still a struggle, mainly using contract workers.

Coal India has a permanent workforce of over 2.8 lakh, excluding supervisors and executives, and employs another 65,000 contract workers. The output could fall further if contract workers join the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, the official said.

Police stop pro-labour protests, arresting many09-04-2014

On 9 April 2014, police stopped a protest march of labourers and arrested scores of them when they tried to proceed towards city centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

Scores of workers from National Front Trade Unions Federation (NFTF) staged a protest in Press Enclave against the alleged anti-labour policies pursued by the government. The protestors carrying banners and placards demanded creation of employment, enforcement of all labour laws, end to contractual work, amendment of Minimum Wages Act and fixation of statutory minimum wage of not less than Rs 10,000 per month.

The protestors called on the Government to make good the promises it has made by providing job, security and proper wages.

Seeking to stop the protest, police arrested scores of protestors including NFTF president Ashraf Lone Nizami and Fayaz Ahmed Bhat.

Air India retracts trade union rights without consultation or legal compliance 30-06-2014

In June 2014, Air India unilaterally withdrew the special concession given to trade union leaders to perform union activities on a full-time basis, requiring the 15 dedicated union leaders to resume normal work duties.

The arrangement had been in place since the 1980s, and had been periodically extended until mid-2014 without reason, notice or consultation. The company communicated the decision to the affected trade unions – the Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG), Air India Employees Union and Air India Service Engineers Association – without consulting with the unions or giving a reason for the decision. It is being seen as an effort to drastically cut the number of recognised trade unions in the company.

A member of the AEIG said that the unilateral withdrawal of the concession was in breach of the Industrial Disputes Act. According to AIEG’s lawyer Ashok Shetty, the airline management is bound to serve a notice under the Industrial Dispute industrial dispute A conflict between workers and employers concerning conditions of work or terms of employment. May result in industrial action. Act before making any change in any the service condition in accordance with a Bombay High Court judgment. This was not followed in this case.

2,000 workers arrested for picket 03-10-2014

Police reported that on 3 October 2014, over 2,000 workers and their family members were arrested when they tried to picket at the NLC lignite mines in Nevyeli, Cuddalore.

The workers had been striking for the previous 31 days, pressing a 6-point charter for demands against the company. The demands included service regularisation, a wage increase and a bonus.

Several efforts had been made to settle the matter through meetings between trade unions and company management in the presence of the Central Labour Commissioner.

Bosch workers arrested and victimised for striking14-10-2014

In October 2014, workers at the Bosch Adugodi plant in Bangalore, southern India, went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
for over five weeks seeking better wages and conditions, the refund of wage cuts imposed for earlier strikes, an end to the harassment of organised workers and the reinstatement of victimised workers, amongst other things.

The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was outlawed by the Karnataka state government on 10 October 2014 under the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, in what some media reported was “a blatant bid to break the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
on behalf of Bosch”.

The company then demanded the return of the workers from the “illegal” strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and announced an 8-hour pay cut for every hour of striking.

On 14 October 2014, Karnataka police arrested around 150 strikers when approximately 1,000 workers gathered in front of Chief Minister Siddarmaiah’s residence to protest the ban.

NVH India employees detained for strike03-01-2015

On 3 January 2015, more than 90 employees were detained for staying a sit-in-strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at NVH India Auto, a component supplier to Hyundai.

The striking workers were demanding the reinstatement of 17 workers who were dismissed after an earlier strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. They were also demanding recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of their union.

“They were staging an sit-in-strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
inside the campus since yesterday. Today, we have detained them,” a senior police official told media.

NVH India Auto supplies sun visor, headliner and floor carpet to Hyundai Motor India. The company has about 120 employees, 300 contract labourers and about 100 trainees.

PepsiCo harasses, fires and victimises workers for organising31-12-2014

In 2013, 162 workers at three warehouses exclusively contracted by PepsiCo in West Bengal were harassed, assaulted and then fired after they organised a union and submitted their demands to the company.

They were told they could return to work if they declared they will never again join a union, made to sign false statements which they were told were legally binding, and told to cut up their union cards and step on them as they walked into the warehouses. Those who refused were told they would be blacklisted and never work again.

Twenty-eight workers refused to renounce their union membership and formed the PepsiCo (Frito-Lays) Workers Action Committee.

In November 2013, the IUF filed a formal complaint against PepsiCo with the US government’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.

In 2014, the complaint was accepted by the NCP, who offered the parties an opportunity to mediate the dispute. PepsiCo refused to attend.

Trade unions march for release of 147 jailed workers18-07-2014

On 18 July 2014, trade unions from Gurgaon, Manesar and other parts of the state of Haryana marched in old Gurgaon to demand the release of 147 colleagues who were jailed after an incident at Maruti’s Manesar plant two years earlier.

On 18 July 2012, an industrial dispute industrial dispute A conflict between workers and employers concerning conditions of work or terms of employment. May result in industrial action. escalated into violence that left a company executive dead and many other employees injured. In response, the company sacked 2,500 workers and closed the plant for over a month. The police arrested 147 workers, including union leaders.

As at 18 July 2014, the 147 workers were still in jail and facing trial.

“We demand that the 147 jailed workers be released. And that there should be an independent investigation into this incident,” said a member of one of the participating trade unions.

On 17 July 2014, the city police held a flag march, as a “warning signal to the trade unions that no disruption of peace shall be tolerated on this day”.

Trade unions rally for rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining30-09-2014

In September 2014, a forum of several central trade unions launched a Caravan Campaign in West Bengal pressing for the ratification of ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
conventions relating to right to freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
.

Announcing the campaign, the West Bengal Trade Unions Joint Action Forum Sunday said the non-ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
) Convention nos. 87 and 98 has been jeopardising the rights of workers across the country.

“Despite being a member of the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
, the government of India has never bothered to ratify the Conventions. The result is there are thousands of trade unions which are regularly denied recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. and registration,” Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) secretary Prashanta Nandi Chowdhury said here.

The Forum comprises trade unions, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist affiliated CITU and CPI labour wing All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

The forum said as many as 2,500 labour unions had applied for registration in West Bengal between 2011-2012 but only 600 were registered.

Law reform fails to protect trade union rights, sparking protests from workers27-02-2015

The Indian Government notified of proposed changes to the Factories Act 1948 in June 2014, after a process of amendment and consultation that began in 2008. The proposed changes have promoted a number of protests from trade unions since June.

Colin Gonsalves, a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and founder of the Human Rights Law Network, reports that the amendments are “petty, anti-labour and poorly conceived” and fail to incorporate labour’s reform agenda. He lists the priority reforms of trade unions as:

In October 2014, workers from a range of industries held a rally against the proposed labour law reforms. The rally was organised by the Workers Solidarity Centre and those involved pledged to fight the reforms, which they said would strengthen the “existing regime of exploitation and repression”.

Among those who took part in the rally were unions belonging to factories of Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Manesar, Nerolac Paints, Autofit, Sunbeam, Belsonica, Maruti Suzuki, Gurgaon, and Munjal Kiriu, among others.

The trade unions pointed out that the proposed amendments to the Factories Act will mean that only those units which have at least 20 workers will be legally recognised. “If the amendments are implemented, it will take away rights of thousands of workers working in small and tiny units."

On 27 February 2015, 80 trade unionists were taken into preventative custody while protesting the labour law reforms in Ongole. On that day, seven trade unions were protesting the “pro-corporate” amendments and expressing support for the unions’ 11-point charter.

The police reported that 50 trade union members were held in Kandukur, 15 were held in Ongole and a further 15 in Markapur.

Report reveals widespread abuse of workers’ rights in South Indian textile industry31-10-2014

The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and The India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) published a report titled Flawed Fabrics: The abuse of girls and women workers in the South Indian textile industry in October 2014. Among a wide range of labour rights abuses, the report made the following observations with respect to the ability of workers in the industry to exercise their right to freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
:

  • The level of unionisation in the Indian garment industry is very low. There were no unions active in any of the five textile mills investigated for the report, and not one of the interviewed workers were trade union members.
  • Trade unions face widely prevalent prejudice and restrictions at the stages of formation, registration and operation. The report states: “Criminalization, threats against labour activists or striking workers, violence against union members, as well as against NGOs, is common practice”.
  • The report describes the notion of freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

    See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
    as “a dead letter” for women in the industry: “In fact, none of the interviewed workers know what a trade union is, nor are they aware that they have the right to join one.”
  • The workers in the industry, many of whom are migrant workers, have little to interaction with the outside world, let alone with trade unions or labour advocates. One worker interviewed said: “We have no outside contact so how could we ever join a trade union?”
  • Several workers interviewed expressed the understanding that women could not join trade unions.
  • Others indicated that workers who expressed a desire to join a union were likely to be dismissed.
Indian Intelligence Bureau report leak aims to create atmosphere of fear26-06-2014

A confidential report by the Indian Intelligence Bureau, leaked in June 2014 after being given to Ministers in the new Modi Government (formed May 2014), has raised fear amongst trade unions and NGOs on a clamp down on civil liberties by government.

The report questioned the intent and sourcing of a number of NGOs, suggesting that they are responsible for a two per cent to three per cent loss to economic growth and working as fronts for foreign interests.

On 26 June 2014, 62 individuals from a range of people’s organisations, citizens’ groups, trade unions and mass movements met and signed a joint statement, describing the report as “a barely disguised official attempt to discourage and intimidate the democratic rights of citizens to express dissent with dominant state policies and to protest”. Their statement continued:

“The report particularly targets organisations which question the corporate-led development model and the nuclear policy, and champion environmental and labour rights. We are dismayed by the dubious manner with which the Indian Intelligence Bureau has maligned, demonised and criminalised many greatly respected social activists and groups in this country who have committed their lives for a social cause.”

“We see this move as an attempt to restrict democratic space for civil society action and silence dissenting voices of individuals, organisations, social movements and trade unions. It is also an attempt to stifle the voices of the defenders of human rights who represent the voiceless, marginalised sections of the society. We strongly feel that it is our right and moral duty to collectively raise and represent the voice of invisible majority of this country.”

Aurobindo Pharma suspends 31 union supporters, harasses workers seeking collective agreement24-11-2014

In 2014, Aurobindo Pharma’s Pydibhimavaram plant in Srikakulam district suspended five union leaders and 26 workers, and prejudiced the employment of many others through unlawful transfers and unsubstantiated legal claims. The company management also harassed workers when they asked for a wage agreement and denied the workers entry to the plant on 26 October 2014.

This discrimination and harassment followed the company’s delay of the union’s registration in 2013, for which the workers had to protest for almost 83 days.

In response to the harassment of union leaders and members, the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) staged protests at a number of the company’s district collectorates on 24 November 2014.

IFTU leader M Venkateswarlu called on the government to direct the company to roll back the illegal transfers, suspensions, dismissals of workers and take back illegal cases against the leaders unconditionally. “The Aurobindo Pharma management should allow workers for duties without asking for any undertakings or putting pressure on them. The only crime of the workers is forming a union one-and-a-half years ago,” he said.

Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR) state secretary C Bhaskara Rao alleged that the Aurobindo management denied workers their right to form a union. “The workers formed a union to secure their jobs and rights but the company management has been continuously harassing the workers. It also refused to accept the charter of demands put forth by the workers. It neither discussed the demands of the workers nor denied them and instead prolonged the issue while harassing the workers,” he alleged.

DHL prevents unionisation09-02-2015

Workers employed at DHL Express India reported that the company has been preventing them from joining the DHL Employees Union. The company classified couriers as management staff, which is excluded from the right to join unions under the Industrial Relations industrial relations The individual and collective relations and dealings between workers and employers at the workplace, as well as the institutional interaction between unions, employers and also the government.

See social dialogue
Act. In September 2014, workers organised a protest against false classification and the forced transfer and suspension of active union members in Jat Mantar.

HMS report24-09-2014

Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) reported that courts in India are independent in practice but there is a backlog of cases and it can take a very long time to get redress in the courts. Demonstrations are often restricted, as workers are not permitted to protest near governmental offices and trade unionists are often arrested for “disturbing law and order”. Public authorities and employers are not treating unions equally. In the National Thermal Power Project, management refused to bargain with HMS in the bipartite negotiation forum even though the union got the largest amount of votes in the ballot. Employers often refuse to comply with valid provisions in collective agreements. A few examples are: Graziano based in Gaziabad, Maruti Suzuki India based in Manesar and Gurgaon based in Haryana.

Union busting at PepsiCo20-11-2013

In 2013, 162 workers employed at PepsiCo in West Bengal organised a union. Instead of negotiating with the newly established union, the company systematically harassed and subsequently dismissed union members. In May 2013, the workers were offered reinstatement on the condition that they would never again join a union. They were asked to sign false statements and to cut up their union cards and to step on them as they walked into the warehouses. Moreover, the company threatened that all local employers would blacklist the workers who refused to comply with their demands. However, 28 workers refused to accept these conditions and formed the PepsiCo (Frito-Lays) Workers’ Action Committee in August 2013. The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) filed a formal complaint against the company for violation of the OECD Guidelines with the US government’s National Contact Point.

Prohibition of strikes28-02-2013
Picket restrictions28-02-2013

In February 2013, The Karnataka High Court ordered Karnataka Petroleum and Gas Workers’ Union not to instigate any action within a 500 metre radius of three LPG bottling plants owned by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited in Bangalore, Shimoga and Belgaum.

Discrimination against trade union leaders and refusal to bargain in good faith31-03-2013

In March 2013, workers at the Mahindra & Mahindra’s Nashik factory went on a tool-down strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in reaction to the suspension of their union’s General Secretary, Pravin Shinde who had been on hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to press for the renewal of the wage agreement which ended in February. Wage negotiations between union and management lasted for six months. However, despite several rounds of talks, the wage agreement was not renewed.

When the Milk Food Factory Workers Union demanded the reduction of working hours from 16 to 8 hours without loss of pay and job security, management at GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Horlicks factory in Nabha adopted discriminatory measures against union members. In April 2013, false charges were filed against trade union members, 300 workers had their wages cut without justification and court injunctions were filed to stop trade union meetings.

GVKEMRI regional manager Hemanta Kumar Bhattu...30-07-2013

GVKEMRI regional manager Hemanta Kumar Bhattu announced that he was hiring new drivers and emergency medical technicians to replace 108 workers who are on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. Workers are demanding a salary of Rs 15,000 and their work hours be reduced to eight hours per day.

On 18 July 2012, two months after the...30-07-2013

On 18 July 2012, two months after the establishment of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union (MSWU) the company Maruti Suzuki India engaged thugs to intimidate trade union leaders. Police raids of workers’ homes led to the imprisonment of 147 workers and the dismissal of 546 permanent and 1,800 contract workers. The MSWU Provisional Working Committee, the leadership group of the union members who are not in jail, are demanding the release of all arrested workers and activists, including those who have spent the past year in Gurgaon Jail without bail, and 10 workers and supporters imprisoned for two months for supporting them.

Nestlé signs collective agreements05-01-2010

In the closing weeks of 2009, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)-affiliated Federation of All India Nestlé Employees, representing more than 1,200 workers at Nestlé India’s factories in Moga, Punjab, and at Ponda and Bicholim, Goa, signed their first collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
agreements after a year-long struggle. At the Nestlé Pantnagar factory in Uttar Pradesh, the Nestle Mazdoor Sangh (Nestle Workers Union) signed a first collective agreement on 5 January. As part of the final settlement, management withdrew the suspension of a founding member of the union who has now returned to work.

Hostile employers, poor law enforcement30-11-2009

The generally hostile attitude of employers towards trade unions is clearly a deterrent to organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. . Employers tend to either ignore the law making it illegal to dismiss a worker for their trade union activities or circumvent it by transferring workers to other locations to disrupt union activities or discourage union formation. Seeking justice through the judicial process is time consuming and very costly. Employers also establish and recognize “worker committees” or company dominated unions to avoid genuine trade union representation.

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