Today’s lead editorial in the Times of India is spot on regarding the “labour movement” in India.
India’s unionised labour is a tiny, entrenched labour aristocracy which when not forcing lock-outs and shutdowns, hikes pay and perks for their own members and makes it extremely tough for poorer, lower-wage workers to enter the job market.
This raises costs and makes industry less competitive and jobs tougher to come by. Unions also militate against the interests of employees or job-seekers who are not members. India’s total workforce is about 500 million today. Of that, a minuscule 5%, or 27 million, work in the organised sector. About 70% of this number, about 19 million, work for the central and state governments and can safely be assumed to be unionised.
Add a couple more million to that and you get a figure of between 20 and 22 million people who belong to the labour aristocracy. This 4% of workers militate against the interests of the other 96%.
Very true. And a classic unintended consequence of leftist pro-union policies is that the currently employed benefit at the cost of the unemployed.
I do not advocate the banning of unions however. Let’s have the freedom of association. Which means that if employees want to use collective bargaining they should be able to. This freedom also applies to employers who may choose to specify, in their contracts with employees, that strikes may lead to dismissal.