Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

Extractivism and Indigenous people-Trade Union failure in addressing issues of Indigenous people


I always find discussions on extractive industries only looking at things from an economistic perspective. We have to contextualize things and not talk as if extraction happen in vaccum. Some perspectives, Which I would liked to be highlighted here are:-

  1. First and foremost, extraction happen in land and those land belong to communities. Most of it belong to indigenous communities (at least in India).
  2. Those communities are forcefully evicted. The dirty work of eviction is done by government. in such an environment, govt. becomes the facilitator and middle men between the communities and the corporates.
  3. Here corporates can be anyone. They have no north or south character. Any capitalist organization be it from India or europe are the same and always look for profit and surplus value. A Tata or Ambani is as bad as Chevron or GM.
  4. Trade Unions, in India while talking about extractive industries talk mostly on issues of OHS, wages, job security etc. But rarely talk about issues of social assessment, ensuring the rights of indigenous people. But on the other hand, they adopt a very militant approach to protect worker rights.
  5. The fact that they fail to see worker also as a tribal person fighting for her/his land rights make the union move away from the tribes. You would rarely find a trade union in India fighting for land rights or talking for tribal rights. Thus, unions fail to organize tribal worker. They fail to see these interconnections, thus fail in articulating the interest of tribal people

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