Doctors’ Strike Across England

For the 8th time since March 2023, thousands of doctors across England struck work, demanding for better payment and working conditions, and included consultant doctors and junior doctors. The doctors are employed under the publicly-funded National Health Service (NHS), and it has been said that the salaries are not in tandem with the high inflation rates and cost of living crisis reeling in UK. In fact, there have been massive fund cuts, which has resulted in shortage of staff in the health sector, and additional burden of work for those who continue to work. The lack of resources has also resulted in lesser hospital beds, medical equipment, etc., which has affected critical medical care.


Greek Workers Strike Against Labour Bills

Thousands of workers in Athens, Thessaloniki, and other cities in Greece gathered to protest against the controversial labour bill that would make employment practices more flexible, which the workers’ unions term to be an assault on workers’ rights. They observed a nation-wide strike that disrupted public services. The trade unions are protesting against the labour bill as it would deny the workers their rights to safe and dignified working conditions. One of the aspects of the labour bill suggests that it would be legal to work for a second employer for more than eight hours a day, whereas the existing law provides for workers to work for several employers, as long as the working period does not exceed a total of eight hours a day. The proposed labour bill also legalizes so-called “zero-hour” contracts, in which the employer does not guarantee the worker any number of working hours. It abolishes the 40-hour working week and criminalises any action when certain workers are prevented from working during a strike.



Auto-workers strike in America

The United Auto Workers Union in the United States of America have been on protest for over 27 days against three big automobile companies, including Ford, Stellantis and General Motors. About 13,000 workers across the US have been on strike, making this a historic industrial struggle in the USA. The trade union has been demanding an increase in wages and better working conditions, which was adversely affected by the pandemic and the resulting inflation rates. The union is seeking an increase of up to 40% in their wages over a four-year period. The amount is meant to compensate for the low hikes given to the auto workers in recent years and the compromises the union made by letting go of certain benefits after the 2008 financial crisis. The union is also seeking the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments and pensions for all workers. It has also demanded shorter work hours, as well as an end to varying tiers of wages for factory jobs. This historic strike has crippled the automobile industry, and the companies are lashing back at the workers by laying off close to 5,000 workers! Yet, the workers remain strong in the face of adversity and are carrying on with their fight against the three big companies.


India’s Freight Train Drivers Protest

The increased number of train accidents in the country has shone light on the abysmal working conditions of train drivers, especially of the freight trains, in Indian Railways. Long working hours, continuous night shifts and reduced rest intervals have resulted in terrible working conditions, which has resulted in fatal accidents in some cases. Adding to the woes of these drivers is the lack of fresh appointments in railways and contractualisation of jobs. Almost 3.15 lakh posts are lying vacant, and 80,000 sanctioned posts were surrendered. It has been stated that in the past 31 years, over 4.4 lakh jobs in the railways have been slashed. This is despite the demand for manpower only increasing. The track lengths have decreased by 18%, number of coaches by 21% and the number of locomotives by 57%. This has put a disproportionate burden on the existing employees and staff to meet the demands of the people, which is resulting in fatigue and thus fatal accidents.


Union Registration Cancelled Over Contract Workers’ Membership

The Labour Department of Haryana cancelled the registration of the Bellsonica Employees Union as they inducted a contract worker as a member of the union. The Management of Bellsonica approached the labour department stating that the union was violating the norms and sought for the cancellation of their registration. Acting upon the same, the labour department cancelled the registration of the trade union. The workers in Manesar took out a protest rally against the decision of the labour department. While there are about 700 permanent employees in the company, there are over 1,600 contract workers and the union has been fighting for their right to unionise.


Nobel Prize for Gender Gap in Labour Market

Claudia Goldin, an American Economist working at Harvard, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences who has researched for decades on the history of women’s experiences in the job-market. She has written about female labour force participation, origins of gender pay gap, hiring biases against women and evolution of women’s legal rights.