Industrial Democracy in State-Promoted Private Industries in Kerala

The misconceptions about the nature of industrial democracy seem to have produced a false picture of the collecting bargaining process in the state of Kerala. This observation is more relevant in the case of those state promoted industries established by big capitalist whether national or international. The liberal industrial policies formulated by the first communist government in Kerala and the consequent setting up of an extraction industry in Mavoor village in Calicut district in Kerala produced a unique system of industrial democracy in the area. On the one side the factory provided employment to a larger volume of workforce. On the other side it irrationally extracted huge quantity of natural resources at suicidal rates causing irreparable damages on natural environment. The traditional wisdom that Kerala workforce has an upper hand in the collective bargaining process seems to be fallacy in the context of industrial democracy in Mavoor. The relationship between the government and the management particularly over the subject of granting subsidies seems to be the main factor shaping the nature of industrial democracy in this area. It presents a story of management tilting the labour unrest for the purpose of manipulating public policies, particularly those governing the industrial activities in the state. This paper is an effort to explore the limitations of industrial democracy in the context of state promoted private enterprises.

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