Indian Labor Class

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Characteristics of Indian Labor Class:

The characteristics of the Indian labour class have changed greatly over time. With the growth of new industries and the continuous migration of labour, the face of the Indian labour class is continuously changing, and is assimilating itself with the new industrial processes. Here are come characteristics of the Indian labour class:

Social Composition:

Most of the industries of the past comprised of labour consisting of the scheduled caste and other lower caste people. Today, however, the modern Indian labour is mixed, especially in the areas of engineering, metal-trades, oil refining, and petrochemicals. Some traditional industries, however, still employ people more or less based on caste. Whether the work is blue collar or white collar, the social barriers within the labour force are deteriorating. Better access to education is also bridging this gap.

Sex Composition:

In the past, labour was very segregated in terms of gender. Women only worked on plantation and textiles industries, and men were confined to factories. Today, however, more and more gender redistribution is taking place. Men and women are equally getting more involved in all types of industry. Even at home, the number of working couples in increasing as they strive to increase their standard of living. Child labour is also present in various industries, but their number is on the decline.

Tribal Labour:

After the independence, certain raw materials like manganese, coal and iron ore are gathered from rural areas in India. Most of the labour comprised of the rural population, and this lead to the urbanization of rural villages. Today, tribal youth are increasingly modernized, and are being employed in industries such as steel, iron, and other mining areas.

Other Characteristics:

i. The Indian labour industry has always been divided on the basis of religion, region, language and caste. Until only recently, however, these artificial divisions are deteriorating.

ii. The Indian labour industry is of undifferentiated class character. Most of the labour is low paid, and still attached to joint families and villages and castes.

iii. According to Oranti, the Indian labour is highly dynamic. The labour fluctuates from being unemployed to being employed. Even when employed, the labour is exposed to different types of industries and working conditions.

iv. The rate of illiteracy is high among the Indian labour.

v. Absenteeism is the absence from work. According to the Bharat Cooking Coal Ltd., at most 40% of labour is missing work. The reasons of absenteeism are sickness, accidents, leave, fatigue, etc.

vi. Another characteristic of the Indian labour force is labour turnover. It is the rate at which old labour is replaced with new labour.

vii. The Indian labour force possesses a migratory character. A majority of labour force is from other cities or rural areas, and still maintains strong ties with their places of origin. This property renders the labour as unstable and unreliable, and adversely affects industrial progress in India.

Additional Readings:

1. Indian Labor Class
2. Causes of High Labor Turnover in India
3. Principles and Functions of Indian Trade Unions
4. Organizational Structure of Indian Trade Unions and Union Security Covers
5. Indian Trade Union Act of 1926
6. Additions to Trade Union Amendment of 1982
7. Problems with Indian Trade Unions
8. Recommendations of the National Commission of Labor
9. National Central Trade Union Organizations in India
10. Conduction of a Trade Union Meeting
11. Types of Union Meetings
12. Rights of Recognized Trade Unions
13. Participative Movement
14. Functions of Joint Management Councils
15. Cancellation of Indian Trade Union Registration

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