Are recent instances of militant labour activity in Tamil Nadu and Haryana an aberration? Or are they part of an emerging trend that is rapidly gaining momentum? Without going into the debate of whether some companies are exploiting workers—they probably are—or whether some workers are forming unions for frivolous reasons (again, they probably are), it emerges that there is sound economic logic behind “unionizing”.
Over the past decade, the hold of political parties over unions has weakened. In some parts of the country, local toughs have stepped in to fill the breach. Worker salaries have risen in this period, and the membership fees they pay make the creation and management of unions an extremely lucrative proposition. Some such unions affiliate themselves with a political party. Others do not.
It remains to be seen how companies will tackle these unions that aren’t driven by political ideologies but by pretty much the same thing that drives them: the profit motive.