This book focuses on the scant attention paid to the workforce and to the conditions at the workplace in contemporary economic discourse in India, and stresses the need for comprehensive labour reforms.
The author argues that despite being a signatory to the ILO conventions and having laws mandating decent labour conditions, India has not been able to implement them because of the minimalist position taken by successive governments. This has resulted in a tendency towards inefficiency and high costs of production, indicating declining labour standards.
The book offers a careful summary of the trends in the conditions of work, wages and productivity behaviour in the organized sector in India over the past two decades. Marshalling critical evidence from numerous sectors of the economy, this book demonstrates the vacuity of currently fashionable labour market prescriptions of mainstream economics which treat labour simply as a factor in production and which put emphasis on 'lean' production. The resultant wage squeeze, the author maintains, violates the basic rights of the workers. He emphasizes that labour productivity has increased about threefold in real terms, while the real wages of workers have remained stagnant. According to the author, labour standards and economic development are therefore not mutually contradictory.
Making a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on international labour standards, this book gives due importance to the role of labour in the production system, frequently neglected in neoclassical economics.
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Table of Contents
Introduction The ScaleProfit and Wage Distribution Institutions and OrganisationsWage-Productivity and Labour Market Flexibility Global 'Subject' and Local 'Object'Wage Distribution Skills 'Mismatch'?Indian Corporate Sector Profitability, Wage Bargaining, and 'Limits' - Contesting Grounds of Cash Labour StandardsGlobalisation and Labour Standards The 'Agenda' Beyond WTO