India’s labour movement is in crisis.
A massive strike is now looming in the country, and thousands of workers are facing indefinite layoff in the run-up to the upcoming national general elections.
And the country’s labour leaders are now scrambling to find a way to cope with the fallout.
As the labour crisis mounts in the Indian economy, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have stepped up their attacks on the countrys labour movement.
Over the past month, a series of high-profile incidents, including the death of an alleged labour lawyer and the dismissal of several union leaders, have made the situation even more toxic.
The labour crisis in India is not only an issue of the working class, but also a political problem.
In the run up to the general elections in 2019, the BJP has launched a campaign to paint the Indian workers as uneducated, unpatriotic and unpatronised, a tactic that has been used to target its rivals and opponents.
BJP leaders are seeking to portray the labour movement as an enemy of the Indian people.
“The government and the Congress are trying to paint us as the enemy of India,” says Sanjay Sharma, an Indian labour lawyer.
“They are trying a very clever trick.”
As India grapples with a labour crisis, the debate on how to respond has been raging on the left and the right, with the BJP and the RSS calling for an “anti-worker” strategy to counter the rising labour movement, and the ruling Congress party pushing for a “pro-worker, pro-business” approach.
But some workers, like Ashok Kumar, a lawyer, and his colleagues are finding it hard to believe such a line is acceptable.
“I think the government has lost its nerve and is trying to distract from its disastrous record,” Kumar says.
“The government has failed to address the labour situation.
It has failed in the social sector, it has failed on education, it failed in job creation.”
In his book, “The Politics of Labor in India”, Sharma argues that the labour and social movements in India have become one and the same, that the government is responsible for the problems of the labour sector.
“The problem with the social movement is that it has been led by the right-wing parties,” Sharma argues.
“In the case of the labor movement, it’s led by left-wing activists who are more concerned with economic justice.”
But while Sharma sees the labor and social movement as a threat to the Indian working class and the country as a whole, he doesn’t see it as a political weapon that the BJP is able to use.
“You have a labour movement that is not anti-worker.
It is anti-exploitation.
It doesn’t attack the government,” he says.
Rajesh Kumar is not the only one who believes the BJP will try to use the labour unrest to win votes.
While Sharma argues the government needs to tackle the problem of unemployment and other economic ills, Kumar says it will be the BJP’s job to tackle workers’ grievances and give them jobs.
“In the next few months, we will have a huge number of people who are going to come to the polls,” he tells The Hindu.
“I don’t see the BJP as the answer to the labour issue.”
For many workers, the economic crisis has brought on an increasing sense of anxiety.
“There is not much work for people.
The prices are not high,” says Rajesh Kumar.
“People are getting depressed, and they are feeling desperate.”
The government is struggling to find answers to the labor crisis, and has been unable to provide any clear and effective solutions to the crisis.
The Indian economy has lost billions of dollars in revenue.
The labour market has been shut for six months and more than 1 million jobs have been lost.
Since the last general election, the country has experienced a massive surge in protests and strikes, and a series have occurred since then.
Last week, the Indian government proposed a five-year plan to address labour problems.
It proposes to create 5 million jobs in the next five years.
The government’s solution to the growing labour unrest has been the introduction of a new employment guarantee that would provide a minimum of six months of employment for people who have been unemployed for at least six months.
The plan has been met with protests and criticism.
Even though the government initially proposed the scheme, many workers are still worried about its implementation.
“It is not a good solution, it is not good for the unemployed,” says Shanti Gupta, a mother of four who works in a retail outlet in the city of Ahmedabad.
These workers don’t know what is going to happen after the government gives the plan.”The