The so-called labour reforms announced by Narendra Modi on 16th October 2014, a day after polling in Haryana and Maharashtra, are a proclamation of blatantly pro-corporate and anti-worker measures unfettered by immediate electoral considerations. The operative measure announced by it is further chaining of labour dept. machinery in the name of doing away of ‘Inspector Raj”. In place of filling up 16 forms of compliance with labour laws, companies will fill one single, self-attested form. Even with sixteen forms, labour laws are better characterized by their violations. A large number of workers are without basic rights like minimum wage, PF and ESI. According to Labour Dept. figures, in the industrial establishments in the capital Delhi, nearly 93% workers do not have these basic rights. Situation is equally bad, if not worse, in the industrial areas elsewhere. This is due to corrupt anti-worker character of labour law machinery which abets these violations unless and to the degree forced by the working class movement.
Thus the most lethal provision in the new dispensation will be inaction on complaints against violations unless inspection is allowed by ‘central authority’, which is an amorphous term. The net result will be that the changes will also be unnecessary. The only inspectors Modi Govt. likes to see in the industrial areas are police inspectors. That inspector raj is being strengthened with increasing police intervention in industrial disputes. Some cosmetic seemingly pro-worker measures have been announced as a ‘balancing act, are cosmetic, besides adding one more numbering procedure.
Modi Govt. has started baring its pro-corporate fangs. It is trying to totally crush the workers’ movement to lure MNCs into India. The working class movement needs to gear itself to fight the pro-corporate anti-worker measures by forging broadest unity to launch a determined struggle.