Labor Relations During 1950-1990
Besley and Burgess have studied the industrial relations climate in Indian states over the 1958–1992 period. They report that states which amended India's Industrial Disputes Act in a pro-worker, greater labour inflexibility manner saw more labour relations problems, more lost man-days and experienced lowered output, employment, investment, and productivity in organized sector or formal manufacturing. In these states, India's economic output grew primarily in unregistered or informal manufacturing where the worker has little to no protections at all. Besley and Burgess also find that states that passed labour union friendly regulations witnessed greater increases in urban poverty over the 34 year period, than states that did not enact additional pro-worker, greater labour inflexibility laws.
Between 1950 and 1970, labour disputes nearly tripled in India, from an average of 1000 labour disputes per year, to an average of 3000 labour disputes per year. The number of labour relations issues within a year peaked in 1973 at 3,370 labour disputes. The number of workers who joined labour disputes within the same year, and stopped work, peaked in 1979, at 2.9 million workers. The number of lost man-days from labour relation issues peaked in 1982 at 74.6 million lost man-days, or about 2.7% of total man-days in organized sector. While the 1970s experienced a spike in labour unions and disputes, an sudden reduction in labour disputes was observed during 1975-1977, when Indira Gandhi, then prime minister, declared an emergency and amongst other things suspended many civil rights including the worker's right to strike.
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