Open any newspaper and you will largely see news of violence and bloodshed. Murders, rapes, assault, theft, kidnapping are rife and the newspapers are having a field day reporting these. There are some columnists that do write about the flip side and the need to fix these issues. But largely, violence takes centre stage in media.
Industrial violence had reduced over time, with liberalization and professionalization of trade unions, as well as with the introduction and widespread adoption of the Contract Labour System.
However, newspaper reports since 2009 have shown that Industrial and Labour Relations in India are on a decline and violence is once again on the rise. Today even CEOs and executives are not spared by workers. There is a growing disparity between the demands and the deliveries. False promises lead to frustration and eventually catapults into violent reactions.
The rise in industrial violence can be attributed to several reasons. The very recent episode of violence at the Maruti Suzuki Factory at Manesar, Haryana, is a brutal reminder that industrial violence in India is by no means a thing of the past. A leading English newspaper pointed out that the violence in the Manesar factory was a result of the failure of the collective bargaining system and decline in Industrial Relations in India. This failure is attributed to the fact that a Trade Union recognized by the factory not only failed to secure a wage settlement, but also failed to end the system adopted by Maruti of deploying temporary outsourced workers. The outsourced workers far outnumbered the permanent workers and were paid a fraction of what the permanent workers are paid. By refusing to concede to the demands, the management effectively rendered the union ineffectual. Dis-empowering the union in this fashion also meant abandoning collective bargaining, leaving force and violence as a tool for negotiation.
But it does not stop there. Violence has a far reaching disastrous effect. There is often bloodshed, destruction, misconduct and a sheer waste of time and loss of man days.
Matters reach the courts and the judiciary has its own time it takes. My heart feels very moved by these issues and I have written a lot about these things.
But where does the buck stop? And what needs doing. This is the question to be addressed. A solution driven approach needs to be adopted.