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Is the work culture really toxic in India? Decoding reasons behind it

Why India was ranked amongst the top 10 worst countries for working people?

Can you imagine that India is amongst the top 10 worst countries to work in?  According to the ITUC Global Rights Index, India is the new entry in the top ten list which is worst for the working people. It cites Brutal repression of strikes, Regressive laws and Mass Dismissals as the three main reasons for India to achieve this unwanted feat in 2020. Is it really toxic to work in India?

Two incidents cited in the report

ITUC gave examples of 6 October 2019 incident in which Telangana Government dismissed 48,000 employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRCTC). The decision was taken when the employees launched an indefinite strike demanding a revision of their salaries, better retirement conditions, and reducing workload from employees. It also pointed out the incident of 10 October 2019 in Tamil Nadu, saying that thousands of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) workers were arrested for protesting to regularize their status.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) calls itself the global voice of the world’s working people. Their website says that their primary mission is the defence and promotion of worker’s interests and rights through global campaigning, international cooperation and advocacy between trade unions, and advocacy within the major global institutions.

About India, they wrote in the report,  “The situation is likely to get tenser as in the name of rationalising industrial laws, the Modi government is currently adopting a range of flexible labour market practices that reduce protections for workers in the informal economy, which constitute 94% of the workforce, weaken and undermine unions, remove the regulatory burden on harmful business conduct, disempower the individual worker and weaken social cohesion and mutual responsibility at the workplace.”

Read more: Will Privatisation make Bharat ‘Aatmanirbhar’?

Where do other countries stand?

As per the Index, Europe is the best place for workers. 12 countries are best for workers – Austria, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uruguay and Slovakia.

France, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Israel got 2 ratings while the United Kingdom, Australia, and Nepal got 3. The United States, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mexico, Oman, Kenya, Jordan got 4 ratings. India was rated 5 along with Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and more.

Every year, the ITUC Global Rights Index is published which depicts the list of countries which are worst for workers by rating them on a scale of 1 to 5 on the degree of respect for workers’ rights. India was ranked 5 (worst) in this year Index.

Challenges cited by ITUC

Long-term Employment with Fixed-term– In the government sector, employees are hired with a fixed term for longer duration which dismisses their chances of high raise.

Flexible/Temporary Contract Labour – Some employees are hired on a temporary contract basis which keeps them delusional about their future. They worry if their contract will be renewed or not if they will get another job after the current contract is over or not?

What are the possible reasons? 

  1. More unorganised sector: Did you know 80 per cent of the Indian Workforce work in unorganised sector which means they can’t avail the benefits of labour laws in India.
  2. Old System of Education:  Experts believe our education system needs changes. It should be upgraded. More vocational training and practical exposure are required. We need to train students while they are in college. We can often see there is a lack of skilled labour in India.
  3. Lack of growth:According to a report by Timesjobs, a lot of workers have reported that they don’t see clear career growth. Often they are baffled upon the vision and delivery.
  4. Job Description is not the same as communicated during the hiring:A lot of employees have communicated that their job description is not the same as communicated.  This makes their work difficult.
  5. No Work-Life balance: There is no work-life balance for the workers in India. A lot of workers have reported that they are often not able to strike a balance between their personal and professional life.

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