Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

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Wednesday 12 April 2023 16.30 - 18.30
G-4 LAB04 Histories of Minimum Wage Struggles
B24
Network: Labour Chair: Jenny Jansson
Organizer: Silke Neunsinger Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Andreas Admasie : Lineages of Minimum Wages in Ethiopia
In 2019, a new labour proclamation in Ethiopia established mechanisms for the setting of minimum wages across sectors. This responded to a demand that the Ethiopian trade union movement has repeatedly raised since the formation of a country-wide movement in the early 1960s. This paper traces the manners in which ... (Show more)
In 2019, a new labour proclamation in Ethiopia established mechanisms for the setting of minimum wages across sectors. This responded to a demand that the Ethiopian trade union movement has repeatedly raised since the formation of a country-wide movement in the early 1960s. This paper traces the manners in which the demand has been expressed, and the nature of minimum wages envisaged; the various strategies and forms of contestation deployed by the trade unions to achieve the aim; and the manners in which support from international partners have been drawn upon, over the past decades. It further examines how the demand and contestation has been articulated within a changing political-economic constellation, until recently producing unfavourable outcomes to the trade union movement. Since the mechanisms to set minimum wages provided for in the 2019 proclamation have not yet been implemented, an examination of the lineages of the minimum wages debate in Ethiopia and the struggle to implement them can offer lessons on the many pitfalls and obstacles ahead. (Show less)

Silke Neunsinger : Minimum Wages in the Indian Bidi Industry - a Journey from Ahmedabad to Geneva
Bidi workers in India are a large group of workers which mainly consist of women and children. They belong to the poorest workers, often illiterate and self-employed, working under bad working conditions, producing for the domestic market with little bargaining power in their own homes. Despite this and the fact ... (Show more)
Bidi workers in India are a large group of workers which mainly consist of women and children. They belong to the poorest workers, often illiterate and self-employed, working under bad working conditions, producing for the domestic market with little bargaining power in their own homes. Despite this and the fact that the tobacco industry has been criticised since the 1970s for the effects of smoking on health bidi workers were amongst the first workers in India with a specific minimum wage legislation in 1966. Little attention by trade unions has been paid to these workers but with the membership of the Self-employed women’s association (SEWA) the bidi workers became one of the three sectoral groups which received international attention in the first half of the 1980s by the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and the ILO contributing to the convention 177 on homebased work which includes minimum wages. This presentation analysis how minimum wages for an extremely vulnerable group of workers used the international arena of the ILO and the support of international trade unions in their struggles for minimum wages. (Show less)

Shobhana Warrier : MInimum Wages in India during the 1st Half of the 20th Century
The history of the demand for minimum wages in India goes back to early 20th century, and is intertwined with the demand for fair wages and equal wages for women. We have evidence of minimum wages figuring on workers’ conference demand charters, and as part of the anti-colonial movement’s resolutions ... (Show more)
The history of the demand for minimum wages in India goes back to early 20th century, and is intertwined with the demand for fair wages and equal wages for women. We have evidence of minimum wages figuring on workers’ conference demand charters, and as part of the anti-colonial movement’s resolutions on workers. Women workers’ quest for equal wages had to contend with the concept of family wage and man as the primary breadwinner. However, the workers did not allow the demand for minimum wage and equal wage to remain abstract concepts debated at conferences. Their militant strike actions in the Tamil parts of the Madras Presidency led to the appointment of committees of inquiry, one of which concluded that there was no justification for men and women performing the same work being paid different wages. The colonial context of India, in which Britain presented itself as a force for modernization and welfare and had to assure British industry that entrepreneurs in the colony would not have an unfair advantage via poor wages paid to local workers, favoured factory legislation and labour laws that offered workers a variety of benefits. These included, apart from maternity benefit and factory inspections, committees of inquiry empowered to deliver awards. State policy, trade union movements with their international linkages and worker militancy at the factory level, all combined to make for energetic movements for minimum wages in colonial South India (Show less)



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