Indian Public-Sector Trade Unionism in an Autocratic Political Climate: The Distinctive Case of Gujarat

TitleIndian Public-Sector Trade Unionism in an Autocratic Political Climate: The Distinctive Case of Gujarat
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBeale, David, and Noronha, Ernesto
JournalCapital & Class
Volume38
Issue3
Pagination517 - 539
KeywordsBharatiya Janata Party, Gujarat, India, organized labor, political hegemony, public-sector trade unionism, trade unionism
Abstract

The power and influence of trade unionism in telecommunications, state government employment and municipal bus services are examined in Gujarat, an Indian state ruled by the Hindu nationalist, pro-big business Bharatiya Janata Party. We identify significant examples of resilience in unions critical of the BJP, alongside conflicts of interest and challenges for pro-BJP unions. These are somewhat surprising findings in a context expected to be hostile to class-based trade unionism, suggesting an important pole of ongoing, organized labor opposition to Gujarat’s perceived political hegemony, and posing some wider issues. In the interim between the writing and publishing of this article, the BJP won India’s 2014 general election.