ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On a Leash, Then and Now

There are defi nite parallels as regards management control of factory labour in colonial and independent India.

Arup Kumar Sen writes:

In the two-part article “Worker Voices in an Auto Production Chain: Notes from the Pits of a Low Road” (EPW, 18 and 25 August 2012), the authors, Annavajhula J C B and Surendra Pratap have enquired into the great transformation of industrial capitalism in the light of what is happening to labour in the automobile industry in northern India. The main focus of the study is Maruti Suzuki. Subcontracting and casualisation of the workforce are organic components of the new capitalism emerging in the Indian automobile sector in the age of neo-liberal globalisation. In the Maruti Suzuki plant at Gurgaon, contract workers numbered 4,000 (70%) as against 1,800 “permanent” workers (30%) in 2007. Actually, rendering the workers footloose is a general feature of neo-liberal capitalism. The authors have documented multiple forms of coercion faced by the Maruti workers in their everyday lives and spectacular moments of capital-labour conflict.

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