The year 2010 has not only revived the economy, but has ensured least disturbance in the industry that drives it. The Economic Survey 2010-11 shows the lowest number of strikes and lockouts recorded in the last five years.
Strikes came down by half to 79 in 2010 (provisional) from 157 in 2009. The lockouts became 1/10th; 20 compared to 192 of the preceding year.
Even the man days lost -- the estimation of productivity lost due to industrial disruptions -- went down to 17 lakh from the 91.6 lakh days lost in 2009.
In 2005, while the strikes were 227, lockouts were 229 and the total man days lost were 2.96 crore.
Interestingly, even as the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is welcoming huge investments claiming a peaceful, no dissent working climate, the survey points to the state as topping the list of industrial troubles.
“There exist a widespread variations among states. The maximum incidences (strikes and lockouts) were recorded in Gujarat,” it says.
Though the document alludes to the overall ‘peaceful and cordial environment to the constant endeavour of the industrial relations machinery of both Centre and States,’ labour unions connect the shift to the weakening of worker unions by the management and contractulisation of jobs across the sectors; more so in the construction, manufacturing and other labour oriented units.
At same time, there are several labour laws and policies like the Factories Act and provisions for contract labour that are waiting to be modified ‘to make them in tune with the changing economic and worker profile in the country’.