Wages through Banks

Arup Baisya

Keeping the question of viability of execution of such a shift from wage-in-cash to wage through bank under compulsion in view of inadequate bank and ATM connectivity aside, what is urgently needed is to assess the real impact of the payment of wages through Bank under the given social relations of production.

The Central Govt in its press statement declared its intent of preventing cut money by this measure of paying wages through Bank. But this menace can only be combated by unionised and enlightened workers. Workers start protesting such prevalence of cut money by the courage gathered from their collective strength. The sites for daily / weekly / monthly payment of wages for the unorganised and spatially disarrayed workers in informal sector and the workers in sectors like tea-estate are the space for their social gathering to raise their voice of protest on various issues provided they are unionised and enlightened. The payment of wages for these workers through Bank will further segregate them both temporally and spatially and thus shift the terrain of union movement to a different level.

The sudden weakening of collective power may compel the workers to handover the cut money to the new class of middlemen on their own and they may be unaware of the siphoning off of small amount from their account through unscrupulous means taking advantage of the complexities of Bank account operations and digital transactions.

As most of the unorganised working Class and the tea-workers are uneducated, there will be economic disempowerment of women's members whose ATM card can be taken by the male members for use of money in non-essential commodities and thus overall family health will also be hampered.

The people's hard-earned wages which are routed through Bank and meant for digital circulation can be used by the rich people to whom Bank can extend credit facilities. Through this increase of purchasing capacity there will be a boost in the day-to-day buying spree of these rich people especially of luxury goods using online transactions, e-wallet and credit cards. But the overall decline in consumption of essential commodities and manufactured commodities required in mundane affairs due to controlled spending, increased service charges, increased spending in social security facilities of the vast majority of masses, will dampen overall demand, investment and employment generation.

The twin goals of demonetisation and digitalisation being obtained with a body blow in the macro economy have already shattered the huge small retailers, the farmers and the workers in all informal sectors. This will benefit the commercial and financial oligarchies in their profit earning, capitalist relations of production will be skewed in favour of the capitalist class, but the capitalist economy per se will not be sustainable due to overall demand crunch, lack of investment. This will further increase the social inequality which will create systemic instability.

Under these circumstances, union power needs to be built through the working class struggle on new issues against banking, financial capital, privatisation, centralisation of power and for wages and public funded social security.

Vol. 49, No.25, Dec 25 - 31, 2016