[op-ed snap] Equal pay for equal work

  1. Context: SC ruled that contract workers should be paid same as permanent workers
  2. Denial of equal pay for equal work to daily wagers, temporary, casual and contractual employees amounted to exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position
  3. Differential treatment: Elite minority of permanent workers enjoy relative job security and higher wages
  4. Vast majority of casual or contract labours (CL), toil under terms where they can be terminated any time without reason, and are paid peanuts
  5. Trade Unions Act, 1926: All persons employed in trade or industry whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises can form trade unions
  6. Dispute: Trade unions typically have only permanent workers as members
  7. CL are not employees of the employer in question (the manufacturing unit), thus find no representation in union bodies
  8. Reasons for not involving CL in trade unions: workers believe that forming a union that also includes CL will provoke greater hostility
  9. CL far more insecure compared to regular workers and fear termination
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