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Changes in the Nature of Work: Small enterprises and NGOs as employers

13.05.2019

At LALIT’s Labour Day celebrations, Rada Kistnasamy spoke about the tendency for small enterprises, encouraged by Government but not given any real direction as to what to produce, to replace the big sectors in production like work in sugar mills and cane fields or in textile factories, and even in what was a relatively large public sector. So, now you find yourself working alongside two other workers, without any work conditions being applicable. And within a year or two, the small enterprise, statistically speaking, goes bust. You have, then, to look for a new small enterprise to take you on. Half of all workers now work in these small enterprises. There are also many people now working for another kind of small enterprise – all those Non-Government Organizations that run shelters, and other charities, do-gooders and so on. These have an additional form of exploitation: emotional. After you have worked your hours due, for example, you are then appealed to as a feeling human being to put in extra hours – because of your commitment to the cause of the employer! The line between paid work and voluntary work (hardly voluntary under the circumstances) is thus blurred.


There has also been an increase, instead of the decrease over previous decades, in domestic work. Many people not only work for an employer alone (or as two or three employees at most), but work in two or three different households, or even more. This makes for a chaotic and insecure life. Again, it is very difficult to get any labour laws respected.


This has been a big change over the past 40 years – from a few huge work sites whose workers, as a block, lead the working class in struggles, to many more worksites that are smaller. This obviously calls for new strategies. This helps to show the importance of LALIT’s campaign that is broad enough to unite the entire working class: “Land for jobs, housing and food security, sea for jobs and food!”