‘There are no Jobs’

The celebration of International Labour Day on May 1 is more like a ritual today. Communists and socialists continue to observe it across the world without showing any resolve to revive the spirit of Haymarket. May Day to millions of workers who toil in most hazardous conditions for 12 hours or more, not 8 hours a day is anything but a utopia still. Even white-collar employees, otherwise better paid in the corporate houses, are not in a happy situation. Frequent retrenchment and lay-offs have made their life miserable. They have no privilege of less working hours either. As per ‘a recent survey by the International Labour Organisation [ILO] India ranks 7th in the list of countries with the largest work weeks, with the average working hours being 46.7 per week and 51 percent of people working for 49 hours or more per week’. The persons in authority simply mock at the International Workers Day even in the 21st century and the Haymarket affairs took place way back in 1856 in Chicago.

As labour-bashing is the order of the day under a nakedly pro-corporate government employers even in small-scale sectors are ruthless in dealing with their employees denying them their legitimate and statutory dues. Political leaders, both left and right alike, do hardly raise the issue of labour-welfarism in their poll campaign in the ensuing general elections. They release some manifestos with a lot of fanfare promising the moon only to allow them to gather dust after election.

Meanwhile, Narayan Murthy, one of the top rankers of India’s billionaire club came out with a unique proposal of taming labour and increasing productivity. As if the prevailing system of oppressive and staggering working conditions is not enough, Mr Murthy proposed a seventy-hour work week. If it gets implemented India will be a Dickensonian desert even for white-collar workers, not to speak of blue-collar teeming millions sweating in the ever increasing unorganised sector.

Workers in every sector are being forced to accept harsh working conditions and long working hours because of intense competition in labour market. Employees are always on the run, they are running with the speed of machines and in many cases they expend almost half of their day or more towards work to be ahead of in the race in hopes of better pay, recognition and promotion. Today unemployment is a big issue in India but even the left doesn’t find any time to organise sustained agitation on it. Modi’s promise of 2 crore jobs proved a big hoax and yet the perennially divided opposition fails to expose Modi’s bankruptcy. Instead they are being trapped in the BJP manipulated quagmire of communal and divisive politics. India, otherwise dubbed as the fastest growing economy by some international rating agencies, has not been able to generate jobs enough for its large and expanding population. Millions of well-educated young people from India’s middle class families are struggling to find meaningful employment.

Fifteen vacancies for peons, drivers and watchmen in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, had nearly 11,000 unemployed young applicants with graduate, post-graduate, engineering and MBA or PhD degrees. In 2023 in Uttar Pradesh 5.5 millions applied for group D jobs (positions such as peon, watchman and gardener). In the same Uttar Pradesh which is being showcased as development model after Gujarat 93.000 candidates applied for 62 ‘peon’ posts in the police department which requires a minimum education eligibility till class 5. Tragically, among the jobseekers 3,700 were PhD holders and 28,000 post-graduates. Even in Gujarat, Modi’s mascot 1.7 million applied for 3,400 jobs requiring minimum qualification of class 10.

Indian youths are attaining high levels of education but they soon get frustrated as even IIT engineers are driving taxis!


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Vol 56, No. 47, May 19 - 25, 2024