“Motown braces for wage revisions after three years”, reads a headline in the Business Standard on April 6, referring to wage negotiations in the Gurgaon-Manesar auto belt. “Haridwar factories brew Manesar-like labour situation” warns another headline in the same paper, reporting strikes at two major auto parts suppliers. The Reserve Bank of India, in its latest “Monetary and Macroeconomic Developments”, warns of the “pressure on generalised inflation from sustained increase in wage costs”.
What is happening to industrial wage levels? Is the prosperity of which the ruling establishment speaks now ‘trickling down’ to workers? Do workers now have the upper hand, and are they grabbing a bigger share of value added?