THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Left Government’s ambitious initiatives like LIFE (Livelihood Inclusion Financial Empowerment) mission could well make it into the international labour scenario as Kerala’s labour-friendly face.
A host of measures to protect workers’ minimum wages were Kerala’s highlight before a high-level delegation of International Labour Organisation, which is in the state to study Kerala’s labour market for preparing the India Wage Report. In its preliminary discussions, the State Planning Board put forth the concept of a ‘high order developmental state’.
“An egalitarian and ethical Kerala, which faces global and national challenges incorporating the egalitarian elements in development, has been highlighted,” said Planning Board member K Raviraman.
The labour experts pointed out a major shift in the labour market compared to the 80s. The number of strikes and man days lost have come down drastically. Now the state is witnessing new trends in labour scenario.
In a paradigm shift from its once labour-militancy face to a labour-friendly tag, Kerala labour market is witnessing a new phenomenon.
There are new pressures in the market owing to two parallel migrations - rural to urban and migrant inflow from outside.
Curiously, in some sectors, gender gap in wages has manifested in a sharp way. There’s disparity in the male-female wage ratio in the traditional sectors. Similarly wage disparities due to skill difference, employer militancy in some sectors that call for stronger labour legislation and an array of initiatives for migrants would come under ILO’s study on the labour market.
A gap between the ‘money wage’ and ‘real wage’ owing to high cost of living and how national labour reforms are detrmental to workers’ interests are also part of the study. There are some good initiatives like the age protection system to ensure that labourers get their minimum in the state, said Sher Verick, Deputy Director, Indian Labour Organisation, New Delhi.
“Online initiatives like the e-payment system, piloted in around 1,500 establishments, are meant for protecting minimum wages to labourers,” Sher Verick told Express. In addition to Sher Verick, wages specialist Xavier Estupinan, VV Giri National Labour Institute senior fellow S K Sasikumar and ILO project manager Sudipta Bhadra held talks with Planning Board Vice Chairman V K Ramachandran and member K Raviraman on Monday. The delegation will meet the Chief Secretary and other senior officials also.