for building a democratic labour movement in India
KOCHI: Health officials on Tuesday closed down a labour camp that they claimed was being run by the LuLu Group at Vallarpadam where more than 1,000 migrant labourers were accommodated in poor and unhygienic conditions. The labourers had been deployed for the construction of a convention centre of LuLu Group at Bolgatty, health officials said.
Though the camp with three makeshift rooms had the facility to accommodate only around 300 persons, more than 1,200 laboures were jam-packed in the camp. “All the ten toilets provided for the labourers were defunct. We have asked the officials with the firm to clean the toilets within 24 hours,” said district health officer P N Srinivasan.
Migrant labourers from Assam, West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar have been jam-packed in tiny rooms. “There isn’t proper ventilation. Everything has been kept in the room in an untidy manner. The labourers would keep their washed cloths on the cots they sleep for drying them,” Srinivasan said. “We have given instructions to those running the camp to construct more built-up space so as to accommodate all these workers,” he said. The work on the new rooms should be completed as early as possible, he said.
“The facility does not belong to LuLu Group and it isn’t in our control. The labour camp is run by the contractors employed by us for the construction of the convention centre at Bolgatty and the labourers who put up here are not our employees. They work in the various sites and projects undertaken by the said contractor across the city. LuLu Group has got nothing to do with the labour camp or labourers lodged there.” said a spokesperson for the LuLu Group, who refused to reveal the name of the contractor.
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Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures,”
Social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity - of opportunity in the social, political and individual life.
In the new global politico-economic regime with new international division of labour, informalization of labour, free mobility of capital, alarming expansion of reserve army of labour and creation of global reserve army of labour for capital, and a system of regulating at international level and deregulating at national level, the pre-globalization strategies of organizing and collective bargaining have largely become ineffective and irrelevant. Therefore the labour movements and the social, political movements in general need to develop and implement new strategies of organizing and collective bargaining effective in new global politico-economic regime.
Divide, isolate and rule is the most important aspect of the capitalism to control the labour by not letting the working class emerge as a unified force. Dividing the working class in different sectional interests, and intensifying social conflicts (caste, gender, religion, regionality and nationality conflicts etc) are important strategies of capitalism. On the other hand, by its various institutions and propaganda machinery, the capitalism blurs the link between various sectional problems and their linkage with the capitalist system and therefore the movements appear detached from each other and focused on their sectional issues rather than challenging the capitalist system that produces and reproduces these problems.
The fate of social, political movements in India depends on their attitude towards learning and building unity in diversity at various levels to defeat the capital’s attempts to divide, isolate and rule. The revival of the working class movement also depends on this factor.