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Unfreedom and Waged Work

Unfreedom and Waged Work
Labour in India's Manufacturing Industry

First Edition

April 2009 | 244 pages | SAGE India
Unfreedom and Waged Work: Labour in India’s Manufacturing Industry provides an update on the debates relating to the work and welfare of industrial labour in India. Concentrating on factory workers in India’s organized manufacturing industry, the study analyses, on the basis of official statistics as well as field survey data, the poor status of workers even in this relatively regulated sector, in terms of jobs and the related absence of ‘security’ that provides the content of ‘unfreedom of waged labour’ as discussed in this book.

The key features of the book are as follows:

- A critical survey of the neo-liberal theories relating to wages, employment and labour flexibility.
- A three-digit classification of industry data in India to explain the recent phase of ‘job-less growth’ including casualization.
- Firm-level data to test the impact of opening up of economy on output and employment.
- A large body of primary field-survey data on work, education, age, skill, casualization and living conditions of workers, presented through reader-friendly tables and figures.
- A labour security index for different categories of workers which shows the declining levels of various forms of labour security in terms of income, work, financial status, etc.
- A critical look at the recommendations of the National Commission of Labour with its advocacy of labour market flexibility and an undermining of the role of trade unions.

The book will attract a wide readership amongst students and researchers in social sciences and social activists and policy makers within the country and overseas.
Alternate Approaches to Labour Economics: Theory and Practice
The Indian Manufacturing Sector and Labour: An Aggregative Picture
Labour Under Stress: An Assessment Based on Primary Information
Profiles of Industry and Labour on the Basis of Field Surveys
Labour Security in Indian Organised Manufacturing Industries
On Labour Market Policies in India

This is a book that addresses some of the most fundamental aspects of the Indian labour market as it evolves in a context of extraordinarily rapid economic growth. It is an exciting area of topical research, and this book is a contribution to it.

Development and Change

The book makes for a critical read of the post-reform India, and, on the neoliberal theories on wages, employment and labour flexibility. Apart from the field survey, the book takes a closer look at the recommendations of the National Commission of Labour with its own advocacy of labour flexibility, undermining the role of trade unions and the political economy of labour.


The book will be “of use to sensitise and change the mindset of corporate capital as well as the policy makers in India.”

The Hindu

The major lesson of the book is that labour market policies pursued by employers (explicitly or implicitly supported or even encouraged by the State) have been disastrous considering the resulting poor employment growth and rising incidence of poor quality jobs. The book is an important one for readers trying to understand the dynamics of labour market policies pursued in the new economic environment.

Economic & Political Weekly

Sunanda Sen

Sunanda Sen is currently a Visiting Professor at Jamia Milia Islamia as well as at Institute of Industrial Studies, both in New Delhi. She has retired from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her publications include several books including Global Finance at Risk (2004) and Globalisation and Development (2007) and articles in reputed journals and edited volumes. More About Author

Byasdeb Dasgupta

Byasdeb Dasgupta is Reader at the Department of Economics at University of Kalyani, West Bengal. He has published articles in journals and in edited volumes on issues such as external debt problems of developing countries, international trade in the context of India and labour. More About Author

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ISBN: 9789353281670

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