CHENNAI: Bolder labour unions are necessary for inclusive and holistic growth, according to renowned labour lawyer Muralidhara Chikmagalore. Delivering the 8th Annual Tarakeshwar Chakraborthy Memorial Lecture at the University of Madras, the lawyer said that growth aided by technology and not inclusive of labour was not genuine.
“The mantra for the past decade was digitise or perish, but now the mantra followed by enterprises is outsource or perish. Technology has allowed radical ways of cost cutting, but technology that is detrimental to labour should be avoided at all costs,” said Muralidhara Chikmagalore.
He added that the banking sector was one of the fastest implementers of this mantra. “Banks prosper by retaining their customers for long terms. Earlier, the formula used by banks for retaining their customers was the humane touch. We all had cordial relations with our bankers, but that is not possible when your banker is only a machine,” he said.
Chikmagalore further stressed that technology was welcome only when people did not need jobs.
“If people with families are in need of jobs and those jobs are given to machines then that is not development,” added Chikmagalore.
He added that inclusive development will need bold labour unions and said, “Almost 90 per cent of the students I talk to want to join only industries with namesake unions. The idea that strong unions will mean problems is wrong. Without stronger unions, holistic development is not possible.”
The lecture was conducted by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and was attended by union leaders and bank employees from across the city.