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

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The Macro Frames of Microwork

Based on a qualitative study of women microworkers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, this paper explores the gendered modus operandi of global platform capitalism. For women from households negotiating caste and class status in small-town South India, digital labour platforms like AMT are the optimal choice; an answer to both economic necessity and familial validation. Women must, however, endure the platform’s coercive disciplining, striving to meet its unknowable metrics. With the pandemic, even as they are forced to contend with the oppressive precarity of digital labour—reducing job availability, falling pay, longer hours and the risk of suspension—work on AMT, paradoxically, becomes non-negotiable. The artificial intelligence-based regimes of the platform economy urgently need a norm shift towards gender equality and redistributive justice.

Reviewing the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015

The National Democratic Alliance government released an early draft of a bill attempting to codify the statutes dealing with industrial relations, that is, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946. The Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, is one of the three labour codes the government is working on to consolidate all the important labour legislation. It is important to analyse the text of the 2015 bill when the ruling party’s own affiliate, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, protests against the proposed bill.

Right to Strike: Has Supreme Court Moved Backward?

Two recent judgments of the Supreme Court have serious adverse implications for workers' right to stride and urgently need to be reviewed. On May 4, the Supreme Court gave two landmark judgments. In both cases the employers had canvassed the issue of 'no work, no wages'. In the first appeal filed by the Bank of India against the judgment of the Bombay High Court, it was contended by the bank that it has a right to deduct wages for the period the employees are on strike and they do not do the work as per the contract of employment (Bank of India vs T S Kelawala and Ors). In the second appeal, a private limited company contended that they have a right to deduct wages proportionately as the workmen had resorted to go-slow and were not giving normal production which would entitle them to earn full wages in accordance with the contract of employment. The high court had taken the view that the bank had no power to make any deductions from the wages of the employees for the strike period. The court had taken this view on the ground that strikes and demonstrations were not banned in the country, that they were recognised as legitimate forms of protests for the workers and that the bank could not stifle the legitimate mode of protest allowed and recognised by law. The high court had taken a view that the deduction of wages for the day amounted to unilaterally changing the service conditions, depriving the workers of their fixed monthly wages under the contract of service. The court had further held that the bank could get the strike declared as il- legal and proceed against the employees in accordance with the regulations and impose necessary punishment. In the second judgment, the employer had challenged directly in the Supreme Court the order of the Industrial Court, Maharashtra, holding that the non-payment of full wages to the workmen was an act of unfair labour practice, rejecting the contention of the employer that he was entitled to deduct wages pro rata as the workmen had not given full production as they had resorted to go-slow tactics. The Supreme Court accepted the principle of "no work, no wages' and upheld the right of the employers to deduct wages proportionately for the strike period as well as for the go- slow tactics, it is further significant that the Supreme Court has held that no disciplinary proceeding is either necessary or feasible where misconduct was committed en masse by employees or workmen.
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