Change and Development in Industrial Society

Change and Development in Industrial Society


Choose any occupation you see around you - and describe it along the following lines (a) social composition of the work force – caste, gender, age, region (b) labour process – how the work takes place, (c) wages and other benefits, (d) working conditions – safety, rest times, working hours, etc.


(i) In India nearly seventeen per cent of the total working population is engaged in industry sector. In our country fifty per cent of the population of this sector self-employed only about 14 per cent are in regular salary employment while approximately 30 per cent are in casual labour. Upto 1991 mixed economy policy was by the government. Public as well as private sector work together all major heavy industries were controlled by public sector but some were in private sector also.

(ii) In 1991 large scale industries employed only 28 percent of the total workforce engaged in manufacture, while the small scale and traditional industry employed 72 per cent.

(iii) Since 1990s, however, the government hence follow policy liberalisation. Private companies, especially foreign firms are encouraged are investment in sector earlier reserve for the government.

(vi) Generally people get jobs through advertisement or through employment exchange in industrial sector. Man and women both work in industrial sector.

(v) The persons engaged in industry get salary or wages alongwith certain benefit like HRA (House Rent Allowance) Medical facilities.

(vi) Job recruitment as a factory worker takes a different pattern. In the past, many workers got their jobs through contractors or jobbers. In the Kanpur textile mills, these jobbers were known as mistris, and were themselves workers. They came from the same regions and communities as the workers, but because they had the owner’s backing they bossed over the workers.

(vii) On the other hand, the mistri also put community related pressures on the workers. Nowadays, the importance of the jobber has come down, and both management and unions play a role in recruiting their own people.

(viii) Many workers also expect that they can pass on their jobs to their children. Many factories employ badli workers who substitute for regular permanent workers who are on leave. Many of these badli workers have actually worked for many years for the same company but are not given the same status and security. This is what is called contract work in the organised sector.

(ix) However, the contractor system is most visible in the hiring of casual labour for work on construction sites, brickyards and so on. The contractor goes to villages and asks if people want work. He will loan them some money. This loan includes the cost of transport of the workside.

(x) The loaned money is treated as an advance wage and the worker works without wages until the loan is repaid. In the past, agricultural labourers were tied to their landlord by debt. Now, however, by moving to casual industrial work, while they are still in debt, they are not bound by other social obligations to the contractor. In that sense, they are more free in an industrial society. They can break the contract and find another employer. Sometimes, whole families migrate and the children help their parents.

(xi) As far as social composition of the work force in industry is concerned, people from all caste and both gender from the age group of fifteen to sixty work. Some regions of the country are having more industry than the other. There is not a balanced development in industries.

II. Labour process or how the work takes place :

(i) In India, there is a whole range of work settings from large companies where work is automated to small home-based production. The basic task of a manager is to control workers and get more work out of them. There are two main ways of making workers produce more. One is to extend the working hours, the other is to increase the amount that is produced within a given time period. Machinery helps to increase production, but it also creates the danger that eventually machines will replace workers. Both Marx and Mahatma Gandhi saw mechanisation as a danger to employment.

(ii) Different workers have different working period in different industries according to their qualification, experience, age and risk of the job. The contract labourers get fixed amount as per the term and condition of contract. In organised sector pay and allowances are better than the unorganised sector. Sometime the workers go on strike due to adverse circumstances or on a call given by trade union workers kind it heart to sustain themselves without wages due to harsh role.

(iii) The government has passed number of pass to regulate working conditions. Let us look at mining where a number of people are employed. Coal mines alone employ 5.5 lakh workers. The Mines Act 1952 specifies the maximum number of hours a person can be made to work in a week, the need to pay overtime for any extra hours worked and safety rules. These rules may be followed in the big companies, but not in smaller mines and quarries. Moreover, sub-contracting is widespread. Many contractors do not maintain proper registers of workers, thus avoiding any responsibility for accidents and benefits. After mining has finished in an area, the company is supposed to cover up the open holes and restore the area to its earlier condition. But they don’t do this.

(iv) Workers in underground mines face very dangerous conditions, due to flooding, fire, the collapse of roofs and sides, the emission of gases and ventilation failures. Many workers develop breathing problems and diseases like tuberculosis and silicosis. Those working in overground mines have to work in both hot sun and rain, and face injuries due to mine blasting, falling objects, etc. The rate of mining accidents in India is very high compared to other countries.

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