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Modern slavery

The main cause for the increase in the number of workers in the unorganised sector is economic

Business Standard 

The editorial “Labour pain” (September 27) is insightful. The menace of growing unemployment in India is compounded by a steady increase in the number of labour in the informal sector, a practice rightly referred to as “modern slavery” in the report. The report defines it as “situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception” and observes that all forms of slavery are prevalent here — intergenerational bonded labour, forced child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, forced recruitment into non-state armed groups and forced marriage.

The main cause for the increase in the number of workers in the unorganised sector is economic — they come cheaper than the permanent workforce and do the same job. Moreover, this group of labour’s inability to form trade unions gives the employer a right to hire, overload them with work, underpay and fire them at will. Besides, as the edit notes, reluctance or connivance of the law enforcing authorities with the employers facilitates the illegal practices to go on without resistance. All this exposes the ugly face of management.

Lastly, it adds to the ongoing plight of this (!) that the government, employers and trade unions are bargaining for their own self-serving interest, yet there is no one to speak for the slave labour forcefully. Surely a mass of employees which constitutes about 90 per cent of the total workforce deserves better and soon.
Y G Chouksey   Pune
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First Published: Wed, September 27 2017. 22:34 IST