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I, Rahul A. Sardar, hereby declare that this dissertation titled “Problems of Organsing the
Unorganised In Marathwada With Special Reference To Aurangabad” is the outcome of my
own study undertaken under the guidance of Asst. Prof. Mrs. Varsha ayyar, school of
manegment and labour studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It has not
previously formed the basis for the award of any degree, diploma or certificate of this
Institute or any other institute or university. I have duly acknowledged all the sources used by
me in the preparation of this dissertation.


Date: 30/03/09

Place: Mumbai.


This is to certify that the dissertation entitled “Problem of organising the unorganised in
marathwada with special reference to Aurangabad city” is the record of the original work
done by Mr. Rahul A. Sardar under my guidance. The results of the research presented in this
dissertation have not previously formed the basis for the award of any degree, diploma or
certificate of this or any other university.

Associate. Prof. Varsha Ayyar

School of manegment and labour


Tata Institute of Social Sciences

30th March 2009

Place: Mumbai


I am deeply indebted to my guide Mrs.Varsha Ayyar who has helped me in

successfully completing this dissertation. Without her consistent guidance this dissertation
would have not been possible. Her valuable suggestions and guidance really helped me to
redefine my ideas and sharpen my arguments. It was a great learning experience especially in
the field where I spent seven months to asses the situation.

I also want to thank Dr. Sharit Bhowmick [Dean] for encouraging and suggesting me
this topic. It was under Dr. Sharit Bhowmick’s guidence, that I started my research in the first

I want to express my heartly thanks to Marathwada labour union, who has given me
an opportunity to explore and learn. My special thanks will be to Adv. Pravin Wagh, Mr.
Subhash Lomte and Adv. Subhash gaikwad who encouraged me in right direction to
complete my Internship. I also thank here to Mr. Pravin Sarkate, Mr. Devidas kirtishahi and
other members of Marathwada labour union for helping me throught and for their love and

I am grateful to the entire senior faculty in and around TISS who had helped me in
guiding me to complete my research work. I also would like to thanks to my friend
Chakradhar Indurkar and Ashish Wadekar for helping me as well as supporting me in
completion of this research work.

At last I m thankfull from center of my heart to my family and friend Ms.Namrata

Sharma for supporting me throught in these two years of my degree. It would not have been
possible wihtout my Father and Mother’s support to carry forward my Masters degree.



1. Chapter I

Introduction 1

1.1 History of Informal Sector 2

2. Chapter II

Definitions 4

2.1 Concept of Informal Sector 5

2.2 Conceptualization of the Urban Informal Sector 7

2.3 Defining the Informal Economy 8

2.4 International Statsitical Definition 9

3. Chapter III

3.1 Literature review 11

3.2 Rational 15

4. Chapter IV

Methodology 17

4.1 Scope and Objective of the Study 17

4.2 Objective of the Study

4.3 Research Design 17

4.4 Sampling

4.5 Sample Size 18

4.6 Crieteria for selection 19

4.7 Tool of data collection 19

4.8 Data Analysis 20

5. Chapter V

Overview of Marathwada 21

5.1 Overview 21

5.2 Aurangabad Division 23

5.3 Economy 24

5.4 Types of Urban informal sector jobs in A’bad 25

5.5 Case Study of Marathwada Labour Union 27

5.6 Problems/Constraints facing the urban informal sector 30

5.7 Challenges for Marathwada labour union 33

5.8 Organising the Unorganised 35

5.8.1 Religion 35

5.8.2 Time and Money 36

5.8.3 Region 37

5.8.4 Gender dimensions 37

5.8.5 Political affiliation of Trade unions 39

5.8.6 Education 40

5.8.7 Leadership 42

5.8.8 Language/ Ethnicity 43

5.8.9 Caste 43

5.8.10 Political Participation 44

6.0. Chapter VI

6.1 Findings / Conclusion 46

6.2 Suggetions 50


Annexure – I 51

Annexure – I 53

References 57

Chapter- I


In 1947, India got independence and new era of freedom and democracy started in

country. As per Indian constitution India is socialist country and it is a welfare state. It simply

means government will be responsible for people’s welfare and development. As a welfare

state government has every right to intervene for welfare purpose. In 1991, government

adopted structural change in economic policy which initiated the accelerated the process of

informalization. Despite many efforts since independence, to lower down the percentage of

informal sector in country, almost 93% of India’s labour is in the unorganised sector.

Workers in informal sector are among the most exploited of India’s population (National

Commission for enterprises in the unorganised sector Report, 2007).

In 1991, worldwide developing nations witnessed a situation which made them

vulnerable to accept new free market or open market economy. This produced immense

effect on people’s lives living in these countries. One of the most striking features of this new

era of globalisation is informalization, which means creating employment which is of

informal nature instead of formal jobs in nature. These changes produced a kind of havoc in

marginalised sections of respective societies worldwide. Globalization brought enormous

changes in social economic and psychological aspect of human lives. It created a huge

informal sector in India which is almost 93% of the total workforce. (National Commission

for enterprises in the unorganised sector Report, 2007).

International trade and foreign investment belong to the Central List of the Indian

Constitution. Investment policies and foreign trade are formulated and implemented at the

national level. Since 1991, India’s economic globalization has been contributed by foreign

trade in goods and services and manufacturing and infrastructure privatisation.


The informal sector is an economic activity which is not been taxed or monitored by a

government. It is not included in the government's Gross National Product (GNP). Presence

of informal sector is prominent feature in developing countries. The term "informal sector"

was used in many earlier studies, in India it is also known as unorganised sector and has been

mostly replaced in more recent studies which use the newer term. (National Commission for

enterprises in the unorganised sector Report, 2007).


From Sumerian time, Governments have tried to regulate (formalize) aspects of their

economies for as long as surplus wealth has existed. Even though, no such regulation has

ever been wholly enforceable. Historical, Archaeological and anthropological evidences

strongly suggests that people of all societies regularly adjust their activity within economic

systems in attempt to evade regulations. So, if informal economic activity is an unregulated

system then informal economies are as old as their formal counterparts.

Only the term is much more recent. The optimism of the modernization theory school

of development had led most people in the 1950s and 1960s to believe that traditional forms

of work and production will disappear in course of economic progress in developing

countries. When this optimism proved to be unfounded, then scholars turned their study to

more closely what was then called the traditional sector. They found that the sector had not

only persisted, but in fact expanded to encompass new developments. After accepting that

these forms of productions were there to stay, scholars started using the term informal sector,

which is credited to the British anthropologist Keith Hart in a study on Ghana in 1973 but

also included by the International Labour Organization in a widely read study on Kenya in

1972 ( Hart k., “The Journal of modern African studies”,vol.11, 1973).

The informal sector has become an increasingly popular subject of study not just in

economics, but also in sociology and anthropology. In modern times, changes in mode of

production in developing countries, many workers were forced out of their formal sector

work and became part of informal employment. In a seminal collection of articles, “The

Informal Economy- Studies in Advanced and Less Developed Countries”, Alejandro Portes

and collaborators emphasized the existence of an informal economy in all countries by

including case studies ranging from New York City and Madrid to Uruguay and Colombia.

Arguably the most influential book on the informal economy is Hernando De Soto's El Otro

Sendero (1986), which was published in English in 1989 as “The Other Path” with a preface

by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. De Soto and his team argue that excessive regulation

in the Peruvian (and other Latin American) economies force a large part of the economy into

informality and thus prevent economic development. (

Chapter - II


Informal economic activity is a dynamic process which includes many aspects of

economic and social theory including exchange, regulation, and enforcement. By its nature, it

is necessarily difficult to observe study, define, and measure. No single source readily or

authoritatively defines informal economy as a unit of study. To further confound attempts to

define this process, informal economic activity is temporal in nature. Regulations (and

degrees of enforcement) change frequently, sometimes daily, and any instance of economic

activity can shift between categories of formal and informal with even minor changes in

policy. Given the complexity of the phenomenon, the simplest definition of informal

economic activity might be: “Any exchange of goods or services involving economic value in

which the act escapes regulation of similar such acts”.

Urban informal sector: The term informal sector was first used in study of Ghana and

then taken up in the report of the ILO/UNDP employment mission to Kenya. According to

the ILO definition “the urban informal sector can be characterized as a range of economic

units in the urban areas, which are mainly owned and operated by individuals either alone or

in partnership with members of the same household and which employ one or more

employees on a continuous basis in addition to the unpaid family worker and/or casual

employee. Typically these units operate on a small-scale, with a low level of organization and

little or no division between labour and capital. They are engaged in the production and

distribution of goods and services with the main objective of generating employment and a

basic income to the persons concerned. Informal employment is comprised of both self

employment in informal enterprises (i.e., small and/or unregistered) and wage employment in

informal jobs. (i.e., without secure contracts, worker benefits, or social protection). Informal

wage employment is also significant in the developing country. Informal workers in

developing countries have few social rights, with no social security, severance pay, minimum

wage, or standards for working conditions. (ILO, 1973).


The informal sector covers a wide range of labour market activities that combine two

groups of different nature. On the one hand, the informal sector is formed by the coping

behaviour of individuals and families in economic environment where earning opportunities

are scarce. On the other hand, the informal sector is a product of rational behaviour of

entrepreneurs that desire to escape state regulations.

The two types of informal sector activities can be described as follows:

1) Coping strategies (survival activities): casual jobs, temporary jobs, unpaid jobs,

subsistence agriculture, multiple job holding;

2) Unofficial earning strategies (illegality in business): Unofficial business activities: tax

evasion, avoidance of labour regulation and other government or institutional

regulations, and no registration of the company.

Note: Underground activities: crime, corruption - activities not get registered by

statistical offices.

The informal sector plays an important and controversial role. It provides jobs and

reduces unemployment and underemployment, but in many cases the jobs are low-paid and

the job security is poor. It bolsters entrepreneurial activity, but at the detriment of state

regulations compliance, particularly regarding tax and labour regulations. It helps alleviate

poverty, but in many cases informal sector jobs are low-paid and the job security is poor. The

size of the informal labour market varies from the estimated 4-6% in the high-income

countries to over 50% in the low-income countries. The size and role of informal sector in the

economy increased during economic downturns and periods of economic adjustment and


The concept of the informal sector was introduced into international usage in 1972 by the

International Labour Organization (ILO) in its Kenya Mission Report, which defined

informality as a “way of doing things characterized by:

(a) ease of entry

(b) reliance on indigenous resources

(c) family ownership

(d) small scale operations

(e) labour intensive and adaptive technology

(f) skills acquired outside of the formal sector

(g) Unregulated and “competitive markets”. Since that time, many definitions were

introduced by different authors and the ILO itself. (ILO,1973).

The ILO/ICFTU international symposium on the informal sector in 1999 proposed that

the informal sector workforce can be categorized into three broad groups:

Owner-employers of micro enterprises, which employ a few paid workers, with or

without apprentices;

Own-account workers, who own and operate one-person business, who work alone or

with the help of unpaid workers, generally family members and apprentices; and

Dependent workers, paid or unpaid, including

Wage workers in micro enterprises, unpaid family workers, apprentices, contract

labour, home-workers and paid domestic workers.

Operationalizing the concept of informality for the purpose of measurement is not easy

both because of the two overlapping of sector and because there is very thin line between the

informal and the formal sector. If an unofficial earning strategy has been exercised by small

enterprise with low quality working conditions, then workers and the enterprise classified as

informal market categories.


Keith Hart developed the concept of informal economy in the early 1970s as a result

of a Research project for the International Labour Office (ILO) on urban labour markets in

Africa. (Portes, 1994; Tokman, 1992). However, after almost thirty years of research on

informal sector, underemployment is conformed by those who want and are available to work

more time than they actually do.

Informal employment is defined by DANE as: "self employed workers different from

independent professionals, family workers, domestic servants, and paid workers in small

firms (up to 10 workers)".

Under this definition, informality can be considered as survival mechanism in response

to insufficient modern job creation. For activities purpose it is still no consensus on its

definition. The term informal economy tries to covers a set of heterogeneous activities, from

unpaid labour to any number of unregulated salaried jobs. The scattered range of activities

has made it difficult for analysts of the informal sector to agree on its definition. The

differences in conceptualization of the informal sector rely largely on four key elements: state

regulation, size of the firm, dynamism, and integration. The first two elements affect the size

of the urban informal sector, whereas the last two are related to its function. Three main

approaches can actually be identified: dualistic, excessive regulated and structural


State regulation is a common feature in all three approaches, suggesting an implicit

consensus that the informal sector refers to activities taking place outside established

institutional rules. However, the reasons for the existence of unregulated activities differ

because of survival strategies, functional requirements, inadequate regulatory system, or

inefficiencies of the labour market regulations -, and then their function in the labour market

and the implications in terms of labour policies also differ. The dualistic approach the

informal sector is considered as the disadvantaged sector of a dualistic or segmented labour

market not linked to formal activities. In fact, it views the informal economy as the collection

of marginal enterprises characterized by: low entry barriers in terms of skills, capital, and

organization; family ownership enterprises; small scale of operation; labour intensive

production with outdated technology; unregulated and competitive markets; low levels of

productivity; and low levels of capacity for accumulation (Portes, 1994; Tokman, 1992).


The informal economy is a term with a variety of meanings. The approach is informal

economy as the paid production and sale of goods and services that are unregistered by or

hidden from the state for tax and welfare purposes but which are legal in all other respects.

This distinguishes the informal economy on the one hand the formal sector and on the other

unpaid work and monetary transactions involving illicit goods and service.

Defining the ‘informal economy’ is a necessary starting point. Despite widespread

usage, the term ‘informal economy’ is characterised by considerable ambiguity. There is

disagreement over the size of the ‘informal sector’ and its variability between national and

even regional settings (Leonard, 1998; Williams & Windebank, 1998 for a review of these

issues). The slippery nature of this subject matter is exacerbated by the apparent ease with

which terminology changes. For example, similar terrain appears to be covered by terms such

as the ‘cash-in-hand’ economy, the grey economy, informal or undeclared work, and the

underground sector”

However, the social science literature seems to largely agree that the informal

economy involves the paid production and sale of goods and services that are unregistered by

or hidden from, the state for tax and welfare purposes, but which are legal in all other

respects (Williams, 2004; see also Grabiner, 2000; Leonard, 1998; Portes and Haller, 2002).

This definition distinguishes the informal economy from, on the one hand, the formal sector

and, on the other, unpaid work and monetary transactions involving illicit goods and service

(Williams, 2004).

In its full formulation, informal employment may be described as:

“The paid production and sale of goods and services those are unregistered by or hidden

from, the state for tax, social security and/or labour law purposes, but which are legal in all

other respects.” As such, informal employment is composed of three different activities:

evasion of both direct (i.e. income tax) and indirect (e.g. VAT, excise duties) taxes; social

security fraud where the officially unemployed are working whilst claiming benefit; and

avoidance of labour legislation, such as employers’ insurance contributions, minimum wage

agreements or certain safety and other standards in the workplace, such as through hiring

labour off-the-books or sub-contracting work to small firms and the self-employed asked to

work for below-minimum wages (Williams and Windebank, 1998:4).


The Resolution of statistics of employment in the informal sector, in the Fifteenth

International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), January 1993, states that the

informal sector as production units that "typically operate at a low level of organization, with

little or no division between labour and capital... and on a small scale.... Labour relations -

where they exist - are based mostly on casual employment, kinship or personal and social

relations rather than contractual arrangements with formal guarantees." These units possess

the characteristics of "household enterprises", which are fixed and other assets do not belong

to the unit but to the owner; units cannot engage in transactions or enter into contracts nor

incur liabilities on their own behalf; expenditure for production and capital goods are often

indistinguishable from household purposes.

For statistical purposes, the Resolution defines the informal sector as "a group of

production units, which, according to the definitions and classifications provided in the

United Nations System of National Accounts (Rev.4), form part of the household sector as

household enterprises or, equivalently, as unincorporated enterprises owned by

households ...." Within the household sector, the informal sector comprises:

i) “Informal own-account enterprise" that is owned and operated by own-account workers,

either alone or in partnership with members of the same or other households, which may

employ contributing family workers and employees on an occasional basis, but do not

employ employees on a continuing basis; and

ii) “Enterprises of informal employers" that are owned and operated by employers, alone or

in partnership with members of the same or other households, which employ one or more

employees on a continuous basis.

If the condition of informal sector workers has to improve their unionization is need of

hour. It will not create group but it will provide all benefits to these workers which formal

Sector workers get.(Source:Wikipedia)

Chapter – III


Informal sector mainly is an outcome or increases due to economic globalization.

Economic globalization is a process of deep and powerful integration of domestic markets or

economy with the global markets or economy. The policies of globalisation, liberalisation

and privatisation have been implemented in the Indian economy for the last eighteen years.

The fact about globalisation process is that it only benefits to large capital. This is not

globalisation of the working class, where workers will be united and creating international

solidarity. Technological changes have contributed to the field of communication and access

to knowledge from around the world. But the economic processes associated with

globalisation increased difficulties of the working class across the world. The mobility and

freedom of capital to cross national boundaries has increased but it does not in case of most


The mobility of less skilled workers has gone down. It is not only about geographical

mobility but even the changing of profession has become bit difficult. Globalization is mainly

characterised by technological changes in transportation and communication, reduced need

for spatial proximity of firms and industries, and increased mobility of factors of production.

The overall effect of these changes are related to new division of labour on international

level, increase in trade and investment, growing multinationals, communication, and

expansion of cross-border alliances between businesses and industries. The benefits of

globalization are widespread of technology and management expertise, efficient use of

resources, market expansion, and greater opportunities for wealth creation. Disadvantages of

globalization includes loss of local income and jobs due to external shocks and competition

from imports, and rising socio-economic inequality. In such case implications are becoming

visible in societies across the world. That is why unions everywhere are struggling to get over

it. Globalisation is supporting to neo-liberal ideas, encouraging employers and governments

to act vigorously against the constraints of employment regulation. Unions have to fight for

protecting past gains, resist principles, doctrines and have to find new allies.

To some extent, labour is always on the back foot in capitalist economy, where

ownership and economic decisions are out of reach from workers and unions. There is a

centralisation policy of these decision making powers away from unions and workers. Firms

have new options and increasing mobility which is away from most workers and unions can


So, in turn one response is common to all unions that everywhere relaunching them as

‘political subjects’, as actors engaged not just in collective bargaining and workplace

regulation, but also in the broader aggregation of political and social interests(Pizzorno,

1978). Labour movement going beyond traditional links with labour-friendly parties and

negotiations with governments, to involve grass-roots politics and local campaigns. In an age

of expanded capital mobility, external support becomes essential for union survival, and

unions have increasingly acted accordingly. The support they need in a global economy is

unlikely to come from their role in the economic sphere alone. In some countries this role has

been justified in terms of value added to production (through increased productivity,

contribution to skill development, reduction in transaction costs, and prevention and of

resolution of conflict) (Freeman and Medoff, 1984; Kochan and Osterman, 1994).

In most of the countries unions are not only economic actors. Labour movement’s

initiates and represent the interests of large numbers of working men and women. It plays an

important role in democratic set up like India, where each vote is counted equally,

independent of economic power. By strengthening the role as political intermediaries, unions

are trying to obtain the support and influence for the need to survive. Even union movements

have tradition of ‘political unionism’ and are becoming more proactive political subjects, by

reconstituting and restructuring the unions as a key actor in local grass-roots politics through.

The ways in which unions going to develop in expanded political strategies also influences

and is closely linked to their actions in other fields such as organizing the unorganised,

coalition building, internal reform and international support.

Globalization has increased the competition in domestic markets and concurrent

processes of work reorganization. Unions are institutionally embedded when their

organizational fortunes are at least partially uncoupled from their labour market strength;

there is an institutional arrangement such as representation in decision making bodies, legal

frameworks help unions in giving justice to their movement. Union’s real strength is lying in

their membership base. Union’s are more likely to seek expanded external support by

organizing and mobilizing the unorganised. Such organizing the unorganised often differ

from the conventional way, in that the focus is more on the community than the particular

enterprise. When traditional institutional ways are blocked such unions uses the options of

coalition building with various social movements and citizenships groups at the local as well

as national level. But in contrast, unions are more focused in the socio-political system and

pay less attention to organizing the unorganised, because declining membership does not

represent the same immediate threat to organizational survival. Unions also have access to

national policy making, such unions focus at that level and often pay less attention to the

coalition building with other social groups.

Union strategies are dependent on the extent of institutional resources available;

include access to the policy-making sphere. If unions build adequate political and

institutional supports, they have less chances of mobilizing the membership, organize the

unorganized, build coalitions with other groups, or give support to grassroots initiatives. The

irony is that a strong institutional position at times can reduce incentives to organize, which

may be essential to sustain long-term influence; in organising the unorganised unions face

enormous obstacles and it is hard to sustain without gains in the absence of adequate

institutional supports.

The accepted pattern of capitalist development in India has not only retained

condition of abject poverty but has also intensified socio-economic inequalities [ Bardhan

1997; kurien 1992]. A complex combination of factors like the state which has sponsored

capitalism and yet facing compulsions of democracy and welfare at the formal level; presence

of both public and the private sector in economy and their contribution to the capitalist

development; disproportionate dependence on agriculture sector; social inequalities inherent

in the caste system in India and the colonial intervention in Indian economy and society has

contributed to the lopsided pattern of development in India. The emergence of the informal

sector and the growing membership of this sector can be situated in the context of capitalist

development. (Deshpande,R.,“Organising the Unorganised- Case study of Hamal Panchayat”,

Economic and Political Weekly, September 25,1999,Pg.19)

Social groups working as informal sector labourers are completely neglected under the

present pattern of capitalist development. There is no protection of law to this section and no

sympathy of civil society support although their number is increasing. Unorganised workers

are one the most vulnerable and neglected group of Indian society. Trade union activity in

India on the other hand has largely focused on workers belonging to organised sector. It is

very difficult to organise unorganised workers because of absence of clear employee-

employer relations, the scattered nature of workplaces, poor resource base of workers and

neglected by the state. [Datt, 1997:10].

However, the growing proportion of these workers has prompted trade unions in India seem

to have lost their political support base among the organised sector workers. [Tulpule 1996;].

The revolutionary role attributed to the industrial working class seems to be withering away.

The trade union movement has thus to look for its support base among the unorganised



It is this reality of the high congruence between the informal economy and the poor, and

vulnerable. This has led this study to examine the issues of the informal sector unions and

problems of organising the unorganised in Marathwada, especially urban informal sector

workers in Aurangabad.

In India, 93% population from total labour workforce is part of informal sector. (National

commission for enterprises in the unorganised sector, 2007). In last two decade, since market

open economy initiated, it started contributing to increase informal sector. This

informalization process has its socio-economic and psychological implications on Indian

society. It is need of hour that this major chunk of population should get organised or united

to fight for their human rights as a labour.

This problem becomes more critical in regions like Marathwada which accounts for

16.84% of the state's population and is home to nearly 30% of the state's Below Poverty Line

families. Its per capita GDP is Rs 10,373 -- a good 40 per cent below the state's per capita

GDP of Rs 17,029 -- and contributes just 8% of the state's industrial output. Its literacy rate is

the lowest in the state (51.23%, Census 2001). All eight districts figure in the list of the 100

poorest districts in the country. Perhaps, the most neglected region of Maharashtra.

Chapter VI


Scope and Objective of the study:

The focus of the study is the informal sector in Marathwada which consists of eight

districts. However for the purpose for the study the district of Aurangabad was considered. In

Aurangabad region, the area of Aurangabad city was the mainly focused. In the informal

sector the types of workers covered are domestic workers, hamaal Mathadi workers, rag

pickers and building construction workers.

The objective of the study:

➢ To study why informal sector workforce does not get united;

➢ What are the problems and causes of the unionization of informal sector in

Marathwada with reference to Aurangabad?

Research design:

Exploratory research design has been used for the purpose of the current study.

Organising the unorganised sector has not been researched in Marathwada region although

this field has gained a lot of attention in the international context. Hence the basic

understanding of this field is not very clear. To have a better understanding of the problems

of unionisation perspective of the current research, exploratory research design was the most

suitable way of researching the current field.

The focus of this study is to discover reasons for difficulties encountered in

organising the informal sector in the economically and socially backward area of

Marathwada. The research could not have been facilitated with the help of quantitative

number churning method, hence qualitative research as a methodology was used for the

current research. Qualitative research helped in understanding the context of all the

stakeholders, their reasons and their challenges in a better manner. Qualitative methodology

also helped in understanding the complex relationship the stakeholders (union, workers) in

the concerned region. The web of there relationships create a unique arrangement, which

could only be understood with the help of inductive approach facilitated through qualitative



The sampling process adopted for the study was purposive sampling. The focus of this

research was on labour union and workers in informal sector, in Aurangabad city region. One

labour union dealing with organising the informal sector workers like Mathadi, construction,

domestic workers and rag pickers was selected for the study. The choice of selection of the

union was based on permission given by the organisation to conduct research.

For the purpose of the study the workers were also interacted with, to understand their

perspective about the challenges in organising the unorganised sector unions. In addition a

major source of information and understanding was generated through participation in the

daily routine work of the concerned organisation for a period of seven months.

Sample Size

The total sample size of the study was 1 union.

• Five interviews were taken from the executive body members.

• Two founder members of the organisation were interviewed to get the perspective

since inception of the organisation.

• 4 focus group discussions of workers were conducted.

Criterion Of selection:

There were three criterion of selection in:

• The executive body members to be interviewed should have a complete and

comprehensive knowledge of the issues concerned with the research. Besides it was

also seen that they have spent a reasonable time in this field.

• At least one of the members interviewed is a part of the organisation since its

beginning, so the initial difficulties and the problems arising out of change in

environment and evolution of the organisation could be encapsulated.

• For the workers it was particularly made clear that the constitution of the group for

focus group discussion is such that workers belonging to all the four fields i.e the

Mathadi workers, construction workers, domestic workers and rag pickers.

Tools of data collection:

Based on a comprehensive review of the relevant literature, an interview guide was

prepared to make sure that essentially the same type of information was obtained from the

participants by covering the same material (Appendix -1). Although there were some

deviations from the sequence in the interview guide to follow interesting lines of inquiry and

to facilitate an unbroken discussion, all the issues mentioned in the interview guide were


The focus group discussions were conducted by initiating them and than moderating

them towards the various aspects of issues so as to capture the overall perspectives of the

research. The overall recording followed by data mining was done.

Data analysis:

The data were then coded to facilitate the retrieval of data segments categorised

under the same codes. Coding was essentially indexing the interview transcript reducing the

data to equivalent classes and categories and, in some cases, expanding and testing out the

data to formulate new questions and levels of interpretation. The nature of qualitative

interview data meant that data relating to one particular topic were not found neatly bundled

together at exactly the same spot in each interview; therefore, shifting through vast amounts

of data to find preliminary codes was a slow process. These codes, however, were a useful

introduction for more detailed analysis later. Codes of different degrees of generality were

included so that the data retrieval could be undertaken at different levels. The next step was

cross-case analysis, which meant grouping together answers from different people to

common questions and analysing different perspectives on central issues. As an interview

guide approach was used, answers from different people were grouped by topics from the

guide. The interview guide, therefore, provided a descriptive analytical framework for

analysis. Some of the data was analysed statistically for ease of understanding


Case study- Marathwada labour union


Overview of Marathwada:

Marathwada is a region of India's Maharashtra state, which corresponds to Maharashtra's

Aurangabad Division.


The term Marathwada is derived from the word Bara- hatti- vada (Bar-hat-vada)

meaning country of Dhangars. Marathwada is the region comprising the eight districts of

(divisional headquarters) Jalna, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Latur, Osmanabad

and Beed. It accounts for 16.84% of the state's population and is home to nearly 30% of the

state's Below Poverty Line families. Its per capita GDP is Rs 10,373 -- a good 40 per cent

below the state's per capita GDP of Rs 17,029 -- and contributes just 8% of the state's

industrial output. Its literacy rate is the lowest in the state (51.23%, Census 2001). All eight

districts figure in the list of the 100 poorest districts in the country. Perhaps, the most

neglected region of Maharashtra.

Marathwada was part of the former Hyderabad state of India until November 1, 1956,

when it was transferred to Bombay state, which in 1960 was divided into Maharashtra and

Gujarat. India became Independent on 15th August, 1947 but Marathwada joined

independent India on 17th September 1948.On this day, the Indian Army liberated the

Hyderabad state from Nizam's rule in a military operation referred as Operation Polo, also

popularly known as Police Action. The Nizam had refused to become a part of Independent

India and was torturing Hindu community through Muslim extremists known as

'Razakars'.17th September is celebrated as Marathwada Mukti Din.

Despite recent industrial developments, the region remains the most backward region

of Maharashtra. Human Development Index (HDI) using the United Nations Development

Programme (UNDP) methodology for the year 2000 highlights the backwardness of the

districts of Marathwada. None of the Marathwada districts are in the list of above-the-State’s

average attainment.(Source:Wikipedia)

In recent developments the industrial growth is much faster like the most famous is

the Bajaj Auto Plant at Waluj, near Aurangabad. Others are the factories of Videocon

(television), Garware Polyester, Colgate (toothpaste), Crompton Greaves, and Wockhardt.

The SKODA cars; AUDI cars are being manufactured at Aurangabad, the most prominent

city in Marathwada, also Hindalco, Parle, Siemens, Radico, etc big companies have started

their major projects. Videocon and sterlite are already in production of TVs, AC Units,

Refrigerators, Washing Machines, etc by Videocon and Fibre optic cables from sterlite. All

these products are being exported all over the world. Cotton farming for about seven months

in a year, otherwise there is nothing.

Thus, projects under the state-run employment guarantee scheme (EGS) overflow

with unemployed educated youth as well as school going children for nearly five months of

the year when farm work comes to a grinding halt. Last year, a record 500,000 persons

reported at EGS centres. It is common to see post-graduates and students from vocational

training colleges toiling on road construction sites. Neighbouring Jalna district has a few

industries but otherwise people are dependent on agriculture for employment. People from

Nanded mainly migrate to Aurangabad for employment and better life opportunities.(Source:


Aurangabad Division:

Aurangabad- Persian / Urdu: ‫گآباد‬

‌ ‫ اورن‬meaning "Built by the Throne", named after Mughal

emperor Aurangzeb. The boundaries of Maharashtra's Aurangabad division correspond to the

Marathwada region. The capital of Aurangabad Division is the city of Aurangabad, located in

Marathwada's northwest.

Coordinates: 19°47′N 75°17′E / 19.78, 75.29

Districts: Parbhani, Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, & Osmanabad

Literacy: 88.95%

Area under irrigation: 9,610.84 km²also live in hingoli district.

Map of Aurangabad (source:


There is evidence to believe that Aurangabad was developed as a trading hub four

centuries ago. It lies on a major trade route that used to connect north-west India's sea and

land ports to the Deccan region. The city was a major silk and cotton textile production

center. A fine blend of silk with locally grown cotton was developed as Himroo textile. Much

of the silk industry has vanished over time, but some manufacturers - such as the Aurangabad

Silk Mills, Standard Silk Mills - have managed to keep the tradition alive. Paithani silk saris

are also made in Aurangabad. The name of this cloth is derived from Paithan town.

Since 1970, with the declaration of Aurangabad as growth centre, with in a decade,

so many industries were set up that the Chikalthana industrial area also became inadequate

for industrial growth. Hence the Maharashtra industrial development corporation had to

declare Waluj as another industrial area. The industrial development in other parts of

Marathwada rather than Aurangabad could not pick up the pace comparatively.

Pharmaceuticals, agro-seeds, steel recycling, auto parts manufacturing, and beverage

production (soft drinks like Pepsi, Coke and beer in particular) are major industries. Among

Pharmaceutical there is Recombinant Insulin Manufacturing plant of Wockhardt (Wockhardt

Biotech Park) in Aurangabad, Which is the Largest Biopharmaceutical plant in India.

Pharmaceuticals like Baxter, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, FDC, Orchid Chemicals, Johnson &

Johnson, etc. are also there. In polyester film making Cosmo and Garware Company’s plant

is in Aurangabad.( Source:Wikipedia)

The Shendra, Chikalthana and Waluj MIDC Industrial Areas are prominent

industrial zones on the outskirts of the city, with various major multinational groups having

set up manufacturing or processing plants in and around the city. In automobile industries

BAJAJ is having plant in Waluj MIDC which given boost to many small scale industries.

Almost seventeen hundred small and micro industries are dependant on BAJAJ as a supplier.

State transport’s bus producing plant is also present in Aurangabad. After 1972’s drought

many people came in search of livelihood to Aurangabad.

In 1980’s government proposed subsidies to industries in this area due to which

industrial setup increased in this region. But after 1990’s when tax holiday finished many

companies in search of better opportunities left Aurangabad, which indirectly created pool of

labour available in market. Availability of water resources due to Jaikwadi dam helped this

process. Water quality in Aurangabad attracted many liquor industries to this area.

Aurangabad is also an educational hub so many people for taking education settled here.

Being a historical city, hotel and tourism industry could flourish nicely here. It

accommodated good number of people in it. Taj residency, Rama International, ginger and

lemon tree, Ajanta ambassador are few big names from this industries. Increasing

urbanisation brought malls in recent times to Aurangabad which created good amount of

employment for youth in the city.


Availability of resources in particular region decides type and nature of jobs in that

region. Societal structure has an important role to play in haves and haves not. In

Marathwada region the old societal structure has its narrow impact on job availability in rural

structure, which led to migration from rural to urban. Marathwada region comes under short

rainfall region. This region is known as drought prone area and the productivity of soil is not

much. During summers marginal and landless farm workers migrated to near cities where

they work for short period of time as they don’t remain with work in villages. In this short

period of time they work as watchman at construction sites or they become construction

workers. As Aurangabad is an industrial centre in Marathwada region and divisional official

centre of Marathwada, construction business is taking up side graph since 1990’s.

There is a variety in urban informal sector jobs. Major types of urban informal sector

jobs in Aurangabad are street vendors (vegetables and fruit sellers), molkarnis (domestic

workers), casual labourers in industries, Mathadi workers, construction workers, rag pickers,

workers at petrol pump, servants in restaurant, self-employed, travel agents and workers in

travels offices, workers in hotel industries, wood cutters, office-boys on temporary basis,

servants in different type of shops and malls, garage mechanics, etc.

With all these jobs presence of “JAJMANI” system’s job are also present like

blacksmiths, sweepers, barbers & cobblers etc. In case of sweepers privatisation by

Municipal Corporation in sweeping jobs brought new challenges to this section. This

privatisation in cleaning city also created problems for rag pickers or waste pickers as

contract people does not allow these people to collect trash or waste. There is a local element

of mafia with municipal corporator’s plays an important role in handling waste management

of city.

Lower literacy rate in rural areas also led to migration from rural to urban areas. This

created pool of labour in urban settings of Marathwada especially in Aurangabad city as it

has most number of industries in whole Marathwada region. Construction workers, hamaal

Mathadi workers and nightwatchmen etc. are few categories formed out of this migration.

Due to lower income their women’s also started working as domestic workers or molkarnis.

As Aurangabad is also an administrative place for Marathwada region there is a bureaucratic

middle class existence which gives opening of jobs as molkarnis, babysitter, door to door

vegetable & fruit sellers, street vendor, domestic helpers in shops and house keeping.

Youth from rural background come to Aurangabad to work as a contract or casual

labour in industries. As Aurangabad city is education hub, people from whole Marathwada

region comes here for education. These are main reasons for availability of young labour in

market which can be easily employed on temporary basis as they themselves doesn’t need

that job for longer period of time. This makes them susceptible to be a part of unorganised

sector for short period of time. Aurangabad as a city has historical background; so tourism

business is flourishing here since independence. This created daily wages category of hotel

servants, small vendors, fast food & fruit sellers around tourist places, book sellers, free

lancer tourist guides, parking boys and others related to this industry.


Marathwada Labour Union started in 1979 in Aurangabad. Adv. Wagh. And Mr.

Subhash Lomte, who was initially working with ‘Vidyarthi Rajkiya Sangathna’, fought for

the problems of students. In course of time they realized the problems of mill workers and

took an initiative of solving them. This gave the thought of forming a labour union as they

understood the fact, that only through an union demands can be pur forward, then only their

will be any output. So with the help of Mr George Fernandes who was then running ‘Bombay

Labour Union’, they started’Marathwada Labour Union’ in Aurangabad. They were also

supported by people like Mr Anant Bhalerao, Mr.Bapu Saheb Kaldate and Adv.K C


Case study has been done after doing internship for period of july-08 to dec-08.

Marathwada labour union was started with around 300 Mathadi workers and now which has

eached around 3,000 mathadi workers. The union now also includes Building Workers

(2,200), Domestic Workers-molkarnis (36,800) and Rag Pickers (1,200).

Initially, marathwada labour union started solving the problems of Matahdi workers like law

implementation for mathadi workers, wage rise, proper working conditions, etc. at the time of

law implementation many mathadi workers with union leaders were sent to jail. The first

success of union was implementation of mathadi act in 1992. At present in twenty two

industries members of union work. Also as per the act the workers are liable of job security,

PF, Insurance, Gratuity, Health Benefits, scholarship for children’s through Janshree Bima

Yojna education, etc and Union has been collectively trying to get them their rights. A few

cases are also pending in court with regards to removal of Mathadi workers from the

company. Following are the names of few companies against whom the either a case is filed

in the court or unofficial talks are being held with that company’s:

• Ganesh Coating (Unofficial Talks)

• Leela Sons LTD. (Court Case)

• Cosmo Packing (Unofficial Talks)

• S JS (Court Case)

• Om Logistics (Court Case)

• Millenium Beer (Court Case)

• R K Enterprises (Unofficial Talks)

• Pepsi (Court Case)

The Mathadi act -1969 was initially only applicable in Mumbai only. Its implentation

started in Aurangabad only on 1992. After a huge struggle by union and mathadi workers it

came into effect. Even after the act implemented till date many cases are pending in court and

labour office.

When the union started, the Union leaders had to put money from their own pocket, but now

funds are collected from the members where they are charged bear minimum amount as

membership fees. Mathadi workers pay Rs 120/yr, Bulding workers pay Rs 25/yr and

Domestic workers pay Rs 10 per/yr. The expenditure of the union runs with the collected


After the achievement with Matahdi workers, the union started unionization of

building workers. According to Buildng workers Act, 1992 guidelines about the working

conditions ans social security of the workers has been mentioned. With the thought of

bringing together all the informal sector workers in one union, and to increase pressure on

employers and government on different issues of informal sector, unionization of domestic

workers started. This was started with the help of mathadi workers. In their residential areas

mathadi workers started unionizing domestic workers. Initially they made the ladies

understand strength and importance of labour union and how they can all come together and

fight for a single cause. The strength of the domestic workers grew rapidly as follows:

Sr.No. Year Strength

01 2003 – 2004 1200

02 2004 – 2005 1600

03 2005 – 2006 5200

04 2006–2007 16000

05 2007–2008 29000

06 2008 –2009(feb.) 36800

(Source: marathwada labour union office)

Table No: 01: Membership Strength in Marathwada Labour Union

The problems of domestic workers is mainly job security, insurance and Rationing. Rationing

issue brought huge changes in domestic workers unionization. In june-2008, membership was

about 15,000 approximately. But since union fought for rationing issue and distrbuted 5000

ration cards through collector’s office, domestic workkers started feeling trust and need to be

in union. Initially their was a gender problem and it was difficult to break the ice but with

time these ladies started understanding as to how the Union could help them and render them

the required support. As the number of members has increased, union has now started

identifying grass root members in every area to unionize new members and who could

manage union members of that particular area to communicate them about the various

meetings and programs held by the union.

Union is also trying to get Rag pickers in their fold. These Rag pickers play a major

role in keeping the city clean but the government doesn’t think in any way about them.

Whatever rag theses people collect in the whole day they sell it for a bear minimum price to a

broker. Municipality workers also many a times do not let them collect the rag they collect.

Union is trying to bring co-operative process so that these rag pickers could collect it and sell

it on their own to the factories directly without having the brokers in between. Union has

come up with a political party called ‘ Samajwadi Jan Parishad’ where in they are trying to

bring together like minded nodal agencies to work for the common cause of informal sector.


1) Absence of organized and major recognized interest groups e.g. unions,

associations to deal with government and solve the problems affecting the sector.

2) Inadequate regulatory policies and regulations to address unique informal sector


3) Difficulty in accessing finances due to restrictive legislation.

4) Urban informal sector does not have institutional finance back up.

5) Alternative lending carries high interest rates.

6) Almost non-existent training and extension facilities related to technology

transfer and micro enterprise management accounting skills.

7) Inadequate information on business opportunities, available services, new

technologies and support programs.

8) Poor physical infrastructure facilities, Competition from cheap imports especially

from China, Taiwan, Malaysia. Lack of safe nets in case of job loss injury,

sickness and death.

9) Globalization removed trade barriers and therefore opened the sector to

competition with cheap high quality/subsidized products from developed


10) Lack of accurate and reliable data, on skills inventory, business opportunities

employment opportunities and available goods and services within the urban

informal sector.

11) Discriminatory attitude by private sector, donors, and formal sector

services/products from informal sector.

12) There is a huge pool of unemployed people which is available in informal sector

which gives chance to their own exploitation and low cost work.

13) Temporary nature of job work does not give feeling of unionisation in

unorganised sector as it is for short period of time or no job security.

14) Lack of legal framework for this huge variety of job sector. There is a huge and

wide range of jobs in informal sector which create problems for law makers even.

15) Problem of identification of principal employer in the eyes of law.

16) Many employer but single employee. (i.e. molkarnis, hamaal).

17) There is a complete absence of decent work conditions. It leads to deteriorating

health standards.

18) They are working with low wages in comparison to organized workers which

creates uneven distribution of wealth in society.

19) These unorganized workers are a direct threat to the organized workers which

may result in outsourcing of some departments.

20) Outsourcing may result in the organized sector loosing their jobs.

21) They do not have a proper working environment and are rather made to work

under hard and harsh conditions. There is a complete lack of decent working


22) They do not enjoy any grievance procedure.

23) Absence of social security transforming urban informal sector labour into sweet


24) Government is not giving institutional or financial back up to this section which

is making informal sector vulnerable due to no job, social and financial security

provisions to informal sector.


1) Diversity of jobs and large proximity- There is a huge diversity of the workforce in

informal sector and which is scattered. They are engaged in a number of fields like

constructions, hamaal Mathadi work, domestic work, wood cutting, motor garage, petrol

pumps, cycle rickshaw, contract and casual workers, hotel servants, waste pickers, domestic

workers, etc. the nature of job is completely different so to come up with rules and regulation

for each one is a tedious job for government. And because of distances it is very difficult to

organize and thus increase membership in these fields.

2) (In this particular reference they are all between the ages of 40-60 years). It is very

difficult to make them aware of their rights due to the very fact that they are almost

uneducated. They posses mind set which is kind of fixed with a set of values in which they

brought up.

3) They are from low income group which make them weak while fighting for their rights,

they are in situation of hand to mouth so they can’t sustain for a longer duration on strike or

no work position.

4) Low income range in informal sector workers keep them in informal sector as their wages

only can give sustenance to them and their families. This makes them restrictive about their

demand of right because they cannot afford to loose job and even a day’s wages.

5) Union working in informal sector, does not have solution over low income of their

members, so it restrict them in case of going on strike and other way of hard protest.

6) As word of mouth is prominent in recruitment to everything in informal sector doing

anything against wish of employer creates problem to job.

7) There is a biased attitude of bureaucratic possesses. There are number of cases pending

since many years of hamaal Mathadi workers. Informal sector workers like Mathadi workers

when they try to register themselves at Mathadi office respective industry or workplace

where they work, just terminate them and the case goes to labour commissioner office. In that

case two to three years of joblessness is unthinkable. This is also a reason why many Mathadi

workers don’t go for registration in labour offices as there is a huge chance of loosing job.

8) In case of domestic workers like molkarnis if union has to organise any event or meeting

they cant go everywhere due to long distance so they have to arrange this at the centre of city.

In that case, molkarnis can not come every time because those are in the most vulnerable

group in terms of job security. Not going to work even for one time or one day might lead to

job loss so these women’s also hesitate to come in union. And as a pressure building tactics

Morchas, rally, strike for rights is necessary. So this is a bit problematic for informal sector



There few problems which are as follows:


In the Indian context, religion has a deep impact on the minds of people. It somewhere has

an influence over the thought process and their respective lifestyles. When informal sector

comes in the picture, government commission statistics do suggest something which becomes

an eye opening experience. 88% Muslim OBC’s are in informal sector.(National commission

for enterprises in the unorganised sector-2007). When the issue unionization of these people

comes into picture these are few points which are necessary to discuss here.

Religious thought process somewhere makes them different externally up to some extent old

prejudices of other people may come to picture when different religion groups have to be

unionizing on the bases of informal sectors about which they themselves are not keen or not

known much about. Religious impact on ideology makes barrier with other religions people,

which do not let them come together while unionizing. Day to day life incidences like riots

on the basis of religion also plays an important role in unionization of this group. Job

availability for one is also dependant on religion, in cases of molkarnis. Women’s from

minority doesn’t get job in non Muslim’s house. Religion does play a role in job market of

informal sector. Social networking on religion based plays a role of consultancy in informal

sector. So, it automatically inhibits the process of unionization of informal sector. There is a

presence of religion based job market means there are few categories of informal sector jobs

which are exclusively on religion basis.(i.e. sweeping). Many people avoid minority women’s

in the name of Bangladeshi migrants. In India different religious groups have their own

language in which they are like very comfortable. This comfortability produces obstacle in

convincing these people in other language than their regular language. From birth to death

religion has its impact on people in India. So it has structured human life in a pattern based

on religious activities so it produces latent conflict in unionization process. Religion based

ego also hamper unionization process at grass root level.


Time and money both are important issues related to informal sector unions and

workers. Workers as well as unions lack strong financial support as well as workers in

informal sector can not give much time in unions activities or their programmes as they earn

on daily basis and possesses low income. Still there is a lack of implementation of minimum

wages act successfully. There must be wage regulations and which should be followed by

employers strictly. Working hours for informal sector are almost decided by employers and in

that also they vary as per needs of employer which makes them away from their important

daily activities in personal life even. So, automatically when it comes on unionization this

thought never arrive in his/her mind. It becomes mandatory in informal sector workers case

that they must work regularly as they can not afford to loose a day even without working. (i.e.

rag pickers).

If informal sector has to achieve their rights they has to fight and for that

organisational support in terms of finance is necessary for unions. At the same time workers

should also be able to give time in union’s activities like meetings, Morchas, hunger-strike

and other ways of protest to give realisation of sufferings to government and other related

bodies. To attend programmes of unions informal sector workers like rag pickers can not

spend money on travelling or other purpose on regular basis. To run activities of unions like

taking programmes, meetings, workshops, posters, pamphlet printings for agenda

advertisement and other activities requires good amount of money which informal sector

unions does not have. Unions also have to pay some money to activists and office bearers.

Unions do lack in infrastructure in terms of office and other requirements like loud speaker,

holdings, banners etc.


Increased informaliasation has resulted in increased migration. It is also by product of

government’s policy failure and resultant regional disparity. Migration from underdeveloped

to developed state is more and especially urban centres which are industrially well developed.

It has contributed to low or cheap labour as migrated workers has no options to work at

whatever cost they are getting to survive. This resulted in job loss for many who are from that

region itself. This in turn increased unemployment in informal sector also, which has been

manipulated and situation further aggravated by vested interests of political parties which

wanted issues of this huge chunk of informal sector. Discrimination on the basis of region has

been seen in recent time and it has made informal sector unionization process slow which is

for informal sector itself.


Women's share of informal sector employment has remained high, although in a few

countries men dominate urban informal sector activities. They comprise most of unpaid

family helpers and home-based workers, and thus fall easily through gaps in enumeration.

Women’s themselves does not consider that they are worker so Productive but unpaid work is

often confounded with household work. The widespread strategy of subcontracting

production and services to family enterprises and home-based labour has contributed to the

further integration of women's home-based labour into the formal production system under

informal, flexible employment arrangements. For women, traditional set up of culture put

restrictions. Due to which her manifestation of her own problems sometimes sound absurd to

society. Especially to low income group women and the society in which they live. There is a

different attitude of acceptance for women and men in society.

Women’s participation in Indian trade union is very much low because as women she

not only has to work at home but also has to look at her job with it. As in the formal sector, in

contrast to their male counterparts, women workers tend to be concentrated in a narrower

range of activities or occupations (common stereotyped activities are food processing,

garment sewing, domestic services), in tasks that require less or no skills and pay less, and in

the lower-end of the markets. Moreover, in addition to constraints faced by workers and

producers in the informal sector with regards to assets, markets, services and regulatory

frameworks, women face additional gender-specific barriers (e.g. restrictions to entering into

contracts, insecure land and property rights, household and childcare responsibilities).

Lower income range, lack of social security and job security are reasons for women’s

presence in informal sector to support their families. Low literacy rate, biased view of society

and family towards women’s is also a reason women unwillingly but due to need join

informal jobs. Patriarchy based society is also one of the reason why women’s are not skilled

or much educated to secure their future. In our society when girl marries she goes to her

husband’s house and child upbringing is almost unsaid responsibility of women only. More

number of children, more number of working hours and addiction of husband, father or son

creates mental and health problems to informal sector women’s. These all factors contribute

to a position of women who has no time left for thinking about herself and her rights.

Malnutrition and low percentage of haemoglobin in blood is common features in informal

sector women workers. Her responsibility fulfilment criteria hardly give her feeling of

unionization and her presence in Indian trade unions for her rights and her own welfare and

development. There are examples when trade unions attitude was gender biased.

On issues of women’s, like maternity benefits or leave, voice against sexual

harassment at workplace or gender discrimination at workplace in terms of wages, promotion

or equal treatment. No trade union raised much voice against such issues. Women’s presence

in formal sector is also marginalized. In informal sector women participation is more but

trade unions absence and their unwilling attitude towards welfare of this segment of labour

till date only worsened the situation in industries and so automatically in trade unions. Her

powerful absence in trade unions also led to no leadership base for representing her problem

of inequality.


Political affiliation of trade unions also is major reason for deciding major goals of

local level. Major trade unions in India are in formal sector and through small unions they are

connected to informal sector. So their political affiliation limits the goals or scope of working

for informal sector union. Political affiliation also brings political ideology in picture which is

sometimes harmful for unionization of unorganised sector. Unions related to right wing

parties like BJP, Shivsena have their political ideology on front, which inhibits joining of

other social groups or informal sector workers because they are not willing to work with such

ideology of society fragmentation. Sometimes major trade unions impose their issue first

before informal sector issues.

So there is a problem of priorities in such cases. Political affiliation brings party

politics in unions and it hampers grass root structure of unionization and small unions itself.

Many times it happen, that party worker or leader is on the position of labour contract or their

near and dear ones hold the position of labour contractor. In such cases, it has been observed

that they sideline informal sector workers interests. Political affiliation may sideline grass

root problem for political gains. Small unions can not go against major trade unions as they

are financially not strong and institutionally dependent on major trade unions.

Ununionized labour force doesn’t have much strength that it could fulfil its demand

on its own power so political leadership’s help always remained in picture. Even though

political leaders are far away from labour issues MP’s and MLA’s of that region always

played important role of mediator in problem solving between employer and employee.

Political leader’s always want mob support which they can get easily from labour as trade

union leadership in India is not that strong as strong ideally it should be. Here the political

will overlaps on labour problems and real problems remains aside. Political affiliation and

political indulging in tackling labour issues hampered labours interest in India.

There is one interesting observation came across study is, informal sector worker

possesses one ideology in mind but while in union work with different ideology. For

example- Mathadi worker who believe in right wing ideology like BJP or Shivsena and in

union he/she is either follow leftist ideology or socialist ideology which creates kind of

conflict situation. Religion or caste based politics does have a deep rooted impact on every

section of our society and informal sector is also part of the same society. So, it happens

many times that hard line BJP or Shivsena worker in private life becomes part of communist

or socialist based Union.


Education is tool to make people conscious about their own rights and help to come

over in adverse situation of society. Education helps to create openness of thought process

and it also creates acceptance and tolerance for others views and issues. The absence of an

education does create problem in unionization as there is a lack of feeling that one is

suffering and one’s own rights and another thing is absence of idea of unitedness. Lack of

education is hampering unionization process in informal sector workers. These people are

deprived of their rights, they face problems in findings better opportunities, limited or no

skills they posses which curtail their bargaining power in labour market.

It is making them almost vulnerable group in society which can be exploited easily as they

are not educated to realise this kind of exploitation, cheating and other malpractices which

takes place in informal sector. Literacy produces susceptible grounds for others to put kind of

compulsions on these people. It makes things hard for people those who are trying to

organizing this section of society (i.e. unions, NGO’s etc) as they have different mindsets as

they are working in informal sector and as such there is only rule of mouth and words.

Education’s absence comes in picture when it comes to making them understand that they

should fight for their rights. Many times it happen that few people take advantage of their

illiteracy and in the name of unionization or union take favours of these people in terms of

money, labour or other things. These incidences creates problem later when there is a genuine

unionization process starts from any union.

Due to illiteracy, informal sector workers face problems of skills and as they can not

read or write they do not understand way of union working. Education also produces vision

for life and enhances skills which give path or way to lead in formal sector and exactly

informal sector people are lagging behind because of this. Education also helps in giving

manifestation to latent problems in systematic way and it also provides better insights of the

problem, so if education could reach to everyone it will help in unionization process directly

or indirectly.


Leadership is one of the most important aspects of any social movement. Success of

movement also lies in leadership and its quality. Leadership is nothing but an ideology

proponent; it is up to the leader how he/she put an ideology in front of activists or in front of

people. To attract or to unionize people it is very important that political leadership should be

capable of handling external and internal dynamics while achieving goals of movement.

Character of leadership makes the way to movement or set the goals, so it is very important in

tackling issues of rights and awareness among people. In unions grass root activists are

important so it is necessary that leadership should be aware of grassroots problems and issues

related to grassroots workers and activist. Sometime personal aspirations lead to conflict

situation or lead to latent unrest in union activists. Prejudices about each other also become

problematic at times when it comes to leadership.

Major trade unions are not giving much attention on informal sector which is the

reason why small unions affiliated to major unions are working on these issues. In such cases,

leadership sometimes become imposition. It should give chance to grass root activists so it

will not only help to handle internal dynamics but it will give more acceptance among people

as they are aware of him/her from initial stages of unionization. Many times in Indian context

religion, caste and gender, region, language and ethnicity plays an important role in

leadership. Many times grass root level leadership gets avoided on different issues and it may

become reason for fragmentation in union.


Language is a medium of communication; it is a way to express feelings and

emotions. It gives manifestation to inner feelings and emotions. While convincing somebody

for some purpose it is necessary that it should be a language in which the person will be

comfortable in it. It should reach to his/her mind convincingly only then purpose of language

serve. While unionizing people it also should be taken care of that their conformability will

remain with union. Language is merely not words but it carries feelings and emotions of that

person with it.

In case of ethnicity also it should be taken care that one should not feel alienated in

group of people. There is a huge diversity in terms food, dress code, social nurturing,

language, etc which varies region wise and sometimes in region also it varies. So it becomes

a problematic task for unionization. There is a huge population of migrants in informal sector.

So when it comes to personal things like language or ethnicity it may create barriers in

unionization process and people.


In Indian context, caste plays an important role and effect on one’s socio economic

condition. Caste is based on hierarchical structure, it means catagorisation or grouping people

into categories, but there is one specialty about this catagorisation which is sub-catagorisation

and sometime language or something related subject segregate this sub-catagrisation process.

This all differentiation created separation among the society and this has been internalized by

people, generation after generation. Caste has its deep impact on people lives from birth to

death. Before independence caste was a predominant factor in deciding who will do what

work and other things related to it, but after independence at least some changes came in

society. Effect of caste has created kind of obstacle in organizing the unorganised from

different castes but one occupation group. Internliasation of caste and caste sanctions kept

away major chunk of population from their human rights and decent working conditions in

past. In Jajmani system there were no wages as there was a barter system. But in modern

times wages are there for work.non-unionisation of this section curtail the bargaining power

of this section.


Political participation of unorganized sector people is more than the organized sector

but the basic difference between these sectors participation is unorganized sectors

participation is moulded to restricted directions either by money, muscle or other ways.

Regional Political ideology or a regional party is more apparent in informal sector worker.

Absence of major trade unions which are working on national level for formal sector, are not

giving much attention to informal sector rather they are interested in political structure. This

has given chance to regional party based union and few NGO’s. Local issues attract informal

sector workers as they have many problems of day to day life like rationing, housing,

electricty, education for their children etc... Local area networking of the party workers helps

local or regional parties to go closer to informal sector workers.

Economic backwardness makes informal sector workers vulnerable in the arena of

politics also. Local parties use this section or labour as vote bank politics. They promote

number of false promises everything and as the find it closer to access, informal sector

workers generally stand behind these parties. Radical ideological regional parties promote

separatist policy to divide and rule. Religion, caste, gender, language, region and

controversial issues are tools of implementing segregational policy. This hampers the output

of unionizing the unorganized. Political influence or radical ideology, deteriorate the

unionization process as it restricts other ideology to propagate in their groups. Radical

elements like Shivsena, BJP, and other parties have their co-wings which are closer to

informal sector at grass root level in public.

There is a systematic approach and technique which these wings are using to divert

main issues of people’s lives or issues or labour welfare and their development. Riots and

other disturbing incidents directly cause loss of those many days jobs to informal sector

people. These are people whose lives are based on regular earnings. Disturbances in day to

day life are like a hunger strike situation for these people and their families. This sector can

be also called as lower income group compare to what organize sectot. This low income

makes them sweet victim of exploitation as labour and participant in a democracy which is by

and large make them hopefull for all the time.




Trade union movement is true social movement in terms of human rights. When it comes

to informal sector, human rights issues comes in picture first as they belongs to one of the

most vulnerable group in recent times. Informal sector can serve its purpose through


One of the respondents said…“In unionization process of unorganised sector there

are various issues which are necessary to tackle; religion being one of them has a deep

impact on human minds as it is one’s belief. Sometime it is hard to come over religious

mind set up and pressure created by religious groups or people in one’s life”.

In case of Aurangabad the impact of religion could be observed very clearly. Among

the workers especially, building construction and hamaals their existed a resonable

religious diversity. This diversity led to differene in beliefs which in turn also made

differene in priorities and choices. The simplest example is the choice of different

time of expectation of bonus. Also when it comes to holidays or festivals latent

diffrences sometimes give manifestation.

Caste is also among those realities which create diffrences of diet, way of living,

festivals, and behavioural traits. It can not be changed like religion. It has a socio-

economic angle in every sphere of life and especially below middle class group. It

inhibits or it creates non acceptance to other castes by defualt. Many times day to day

incidence of caste atrocities and riots also give chance to latent distrsut among group

memebers as it has been observed in study. Gender is a social construction which

created complete different class of human beings that is women in society. In informal

sector, womens participation is huge but gender diffrences and disadvantages of being

women come in picture. Her getting unionised will make a huge diffrence for

informal sector. Few domestic workers responded that “personal differenes leads to

ununionization proess or slows the process in domestic workers case, even our

personal life problems like family problems do not give chance to unionize or

even to think beyond our home and workplace”. In domestic workers case this also

has been observed that domestic workers getting unionized in unions also dictated by

their husbands or son. Their say also comes into picture when she has to think beyond

her work.

Political ideology is faith in which one lives or which suits to one’s faith.

These faiths at a time override all the ideologies irrespective of rationality. It has been

observed during study that there is a clash of political ideologies in the minds of

workers, as respondents revealed these issues. Political structure gives hopes but

sometimes in reality it becomes fake idea of vested interests of few people. So,

informal sector unions need to check its tie up, affiliation and participation level with

political parties. Study reveals that affiliation or tie up with political party’s keep

informal sectors agenda behind and local or sometimes state level politics become key

concern of union.

Education has power to give realisation of reality and it is best way to make

one self conscious. Lack of education creates blurriness which makes one self

susceptible for exploitation and vulnerable. It can enlighten oneself about human

rights. Low literacy rate of Marathwada created huge chunk of workers base in

informal sector. Due to lack of education, Mathadi or construction workers or even

domestic workers are unaware of their rights at workplace, importance of unionization

and strength of union. Domestic workers or hamaal Mathadi workers does not take

part in union activities as they lack of education. Many workers responded that they

want to participate in union office activities at free time but due to illiteracy they are

not able to do so. Language and ethnicity are related to identities which give idea of

what you belongs to. So, when it comes to group it becomes necessary that these

things should be taken care as it produces comfort and gives time to find out what is

good about being in group. Women respondents revealed that they feel awkward

sometimes when they seat with Marathi speaking women’s. Group should not produce

feeling of getting him/her alienated on the basis of language and ethnicity. Few

respondents shared their views which discloses the fact that many domestic workers

feel awkward when those women’s seat with other women’s of different language

group or ethnicity.

Time and money are two things which are important in informal sector workers life. It

is really a need that should be sort out as early as possible. Minimum or living wages

should be given to informal sector workers and their working hours should be

regulated to serve them a dignified life with just. Rag pickers whose income is 10 to

20 Rs. Per day and who have to work from morning to late evening because they also

have to sell their collected material, makes them completely busy and needy due to

low income. This is the reason why rag pickers absence in Morchas and other union

programme is very less or even negligible. They are also suffering from local mafias

since privatisation of solid waste management has been done by Aurangabad

Municipal Corporation. Ghantagadiwaale means people appointed by corporation

itself don’t allow rag pickers to take solid waste of their particular area. Union is

fighting on this issue but quick results are not coming due to politicization of this

issue. As these workers can not sustain without work and union is not in a position

where quick relief can be given, it is making them away from union as they started

feeling that it can not protect or help them in their life. Union does have its limitations

as the legal framework for informal sector workers still lacks in giving quick relief.

Regional development is output of government, its policy framing and

implementation. Common person like informal sector worker has to become victim of

such government failure and this failure also results in regional disparities. It leads to

migration and people those who are already vulnerable puts them on back foot. In

Recent times due to unemployment and other reasons people are trying to find new

opportunities. Migration has given impetus to issue of regionalism and which has

been manipulated by many so it has created problems for union not only to protect

such migrated workers but also to make other local workers understand that this is

separatist issues which will divide the power of informal sector workers and

unionization process. Acceptance and tolerance towards other region people also

should become part of unionization process. Leadership aspect is important point as it

decides direction and way to achieve goals of union. It has been observed that trust

feeling among member increases if they have complete faith in leadership and its

character. When Mathadi act was not implanted in Aurangabad then under guidance

of their respective leader’s hamaal protested and they all been sent to jails at that time.

This incidence has given them feeling that there leaders will be present with them

whenever need will be their. This brought change in hamaal/Mathadi workers as they

started feeling a group to which they belong and confidence they even we also can

fight and change our situation. This helped union members as they don’t get distracted

from goals.


Unionization of informal sector workers is necessity of human rights movement as well as

unions which are working for informal sector. There are few suggestions for state as we are

in democratic socialist set up where state is a welfare state. This can also help informal sector

unions to unionize and justify their movement.

The State should form Unorganised Workers Welfare Boards. There should be

regulation of employment and wages as it will change socio-economic profile of

informal sector workers and major population of country. E.S.I health insurance

should be given from state to informal sector workers. Government should take

initiative in making insurance of informal sector workers compulsory. Housing is one

issue which is increasing attention in human life as it is reaching out of hand from

major population slowly, state should provide affordable housing to informal sector

workers. There should be just and fair pension schemes mean social security nets.

Dispute resolution mechanisms should be fast to come over legal problems of

informal sector workers. Psychological and sexual harassment at workplaces should

be tackled as hardly as possible; it rarely comes into picture for just. Complaints

committees for informal sector workers also should be formed. There should be easy

finance to informal sector workers at the time of need.



1) When and how did Marathwada Labour Union Started?

2) How many workers were there at the start and now what is the number of


3) Is Marathwada Labour Union affiliated with any Organisation or Political Party?

4) What are the challenges which Union faced while organizing the informal sector


5) What are the activities which Union does?

6) Does union face gender problems while dealing with female workers?

7) Which are the areas in which the Union wants to expand?

8) What are the rules and regulation for informal sector workers and how much is the


9) How does the Union develop leadership at grass root level?

10) How are the clashes amongst leaders handled?

11) What is the role of Religion, Caste, Gender, Lower Income Group, and education

in unionization?

12) Why did Union enter in issue of Public Distribution System (Ration Card) and

since how long is the Union handling it?

13) What is the support which Union receives from Political parties and other


14) How much do the formal sector union helps the informal sector unions and in

which way?

15) From where does the union get the required funds and what are the problems

union face?

16) In which way does the Self Help Group (SHG) help in unionization?

17) Suggestion that will improve Labour Unions and Workers?


Focus group discussion

Profile of Respondents:

Group A:

Sr.No. Age Work Sex Religion Caste Native Place Nature of

Experience Work
1 40 7 years Female Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Mathadi
2 30 10 years Female Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Rag picker

3 35 12 years Male Muslim - Maharashtra Mathadi

4 37 15years Male Muslim - Maharashtra Construction

5 25 7years Male Hindu Dhangar Maharashtra Mathadi
6 30 5 years Male Hindu chamhar U.P. Construction
7 35 11 years Male Muslim - maharashtra construction

Group B:

Sr.No. Age Work Sex Religion Caste Native Place Nature of

Experience Work
1 25 5 years Male Muslim - Maharashtra Mathadi
2 33 11 years Male Hindu Maratha Maharashtra Mathadi
3 35 15 years Female Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Rag picker
4 29 7years female Hindu Nhavi Maharashtra Construction
5 35 15 years Male Hindu Maratha Maharashtra Mathadi
6 37 16 years Male Hindu Dhobi Bihar Construction
7 35 11 years Female Muslim - maharashtra construction


Group C:

Sr.No. Age Work Sex Religion Caste Native Place Nature of

Experience Work
1 36 14 years Male Hindu Maratha Maharashtra Mathadi
2 38 10 years Male Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Rag picker

3 32 8 years Male Muslim - Maharashtra Mathadi

4 34 13years Male Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Construction
5 39 17years Male Hindu Dhangar Maharashtra Mathadi

6 31 12 years Female Hindu Chamhar Maharashtra Construction
7 29 9 years Female Muslim - Maharashtra construction

Group D:

Sr.No. Age Work Sex Religion Caste Native Place Nature of

Experience Work
1 27 7 years Female Hindu Maratha Maharashtra Mathadi
2 29 9 years Male Hindu Vanjari Maharashtra Mathadi
3 31 10 years Male Hindu Matang Maharashtra Rag Picker

4 39 14years Male Muslim Maharashtra Construction

5 28 8years female Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra Rag picker
6 34 9 years Male Hindu Maratha Maharashtra Construction
7 27 7 years Female Buddhist Mahar Maharashtra construction


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