Journal : Phoenix Weekly Date : Author : Mao Keji, Page No. : NA
URL : http://www.ifengweekly.com/detil.php?id=2292

史上最大规模抗议冲击印度

9月初,印度各地爆发了声势浩大的抗议风潮。据当地媒体报道,在10个大型工会的支持下,来自银行业、制造业和建筑业的近1.5亿工人参与了罢工。在新德里,出租车和人力车司机拒绝上路,在南部左翼堡垒喀拉拉邦,商店和银行关闭。

In early September of 2015, several large-scale protests broke out across India. Reporters of local media said that nearly 150 million workers took part in the strikes, affecting the  banking, manufacturing and construction industries of – all supported by 10 influential trade unions. In New Delhi, drivers of taxis and rickshaws refused to pick up any passengers; in the State of Kerala – a southern fortress of left-wingers — shops and banks were shut down.

这场被称作是印度史上规模最大的抗议活动将人们的目光引向劳动制度问题。可以说,正是印度积弊已久的陈腐劳工制度与印度总理莫迪大刀阔斧的新锐改革措施发生猛烈碰撞,才爆发出这次前无古人的抗议;而在街头喧闹背后,正在进行的是新旧观念、新旧制度、新旧利益集团之间烈度空前的博弈。鹿死谁手可能决定印度未来的经济轨迹,甚至关系到国家的命运。

Labeled as “the most serious protests in national history”, the crisis in September sheds light on labor regulations of India – already a focus before the strikes. It is fair to say that the recent breakout of unprecedented protests was attributed to the clashes of two things: the hackneyed labor regulations of India with accumulated malpractices, and the  drastic reform measures carried out by Prime Minister Modi. Hidden behind the hustle and bustle of every Indian street was a game being played between old and the new notions, regulations and interest groups, with an intensity never seen before. The final result of the game might determine the economic course of India in the foreseeable future, and without exaggeration, the fate of thel Indian people.

滞后的劳动法体系 Laggard system of labor laws

自从2014年5月强势当选以来,莫迪推出了革命性措施,将劳工制度、土地制度、环保标准等长期困扰印度制造业发展的桎梏逐一纳入改革议程。其中,积弊已久的劳工问题被许多经济学家认为是阻碍印度经济腾飞的最大障碍,同时也是改革最难攻克的堡垒。

Since he won the election with an overwhelming majority in May of 2014, Modi pushed through several revolutionary measures, aiming to throw into the reform agenda  labor regulations, land ownership and environmental protection criteria – which were seen as major hindrances to development of manufacturing in India. Among them, labor issues, with accumulated malpractices, were regarded by many economists as the largest hindrance for Indian economy to take a leap forward. They were the forts most unlikely to be conquered in the process of reform.

时至今日,印度的劳动法体系仍以殖民时代的法律为主体,很多条文甚至在立法者写下之后就再无更改。处理劳资纠纷的《产业争议法》于1947年立法,涉及劳资关系的《产业雇佣法》于1946年立法,而涉及劳工组织的《行业工会法》更是早在1926年就确立了。诚然,世界上历史悠久的法律并不罕见,古旧的法律通过修正也能与时俱进,但像印度一样在法律体系上如此墨守成规,可以说举世难寻。

Until now, the system of labor law in India depends on the main body of laws drawn up under British colonist rule, and many of them were never modified or updated. The Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), which deals with labor disputes, was laid down as law in 1947; Trade Union Act (TUA), which regulates all trade unions in India, dates back to as early as 1926. Frankly speaking, the world does not run short of laws of very long history, but even the ancient laws can advance with the times through modifications. However, India is a rare example in the world, in the sense that she never leaves the beaten track in her legal system.

印度法律很大程度上是英国殖民当局和印度本地议会博弈的结果。面对当时肆虐的英国资本和强势的殖民买办,印度立法者假设“所有雇主都是剥削者”,“所有劳工除了受雇之外再无出路”,“所有雇主都是大公司”,而将限制资本扩张、减轻雇佣剥削、保障劳工福利作为订立法律的逻辑起点。例如,《产业争议法》规定规模大于100人的雇主,如果要裁员或关闭必须获得政府允许;《行业工会法》规定7个人以上的雇佣单位就能组成工会;而《工厂法》规定一个季度的加班上限是50个小时。

The laws in India, to a large extent, were the result of the game playing between British colonial authority and Indian local congress. Faced with the vehement British capital and the assertive colonist compradores, the legislators in India held the assumptions that “all the employers are exploiters”, “all the laborers have no way out other than to be employed”, and “all the employers are large corporations”. Therefore, the basic logic of legislation was to limit the expansion of capital, to alleviate the exploitation imposed by the employers, and to guarantee the welfare of laborers. For example, Industrial Disputes Act stipulated that any redundancies and shut down should be approved by government, if the corporation had more than 100 employees. Likewise, the Factories Act stipulated that the length of overtime by any laborer should not exceed 50 hours quarterly.

可以说,在殖民统治和资本剥削交织压迫下,印度当年的法律确实起到了维护百姓福祉的作用,具有合理性与先进性。然而,在印度经济、社会和政治背景都发生了重大变化之后,这些法律依然抱陈守旧,就逐渐成了阻碍发展的桎梏。

To be fair, the legislation of that era succeeded in protecting the welfare of common Indians, considering the fact that India people were burdened by a mix of colonialist rules and capitalist exploitation. These laws, therefore, were reasonable and advanced in that background. Nevertheless, with the gigantic changes taking place in India’s economic, social and political background, these ancient laws would easily become shackles for further development if they remained unchanged over time.

比如,由于《产业争议法》约束发展规模的规定,企业在印度不敢贸然扩张,严重抑制了投资需求——因为规模达到100人以上的企业不能随意解雇员工,必须得到政府的许可。但考虑到失业潮可能带来的“选票毒药”效应,政府往往不会核发许可。这就意味着一个工厂一旦经营不善,母公司不但不能关停止损,还会被其拖累。因此,很多小作坊在盈利后不愿扩大生产规模,而是维持低水平循环,重复投资,复制出更多的小作坊。而由于这条规定,很多外商也对投资印度望而却步。

For example, the Industrial Disputes Act restricted the size and development of corporations in India. The corporations would not dare to expand too hastily, and the investment needs were seriously limited.  The government, on the other hand, would usually not approve the redundancies and shut downs, for fear that the tide of unemployment would exert “ballot box boomerang” effect on future elections. As a result, it was extremely hard for the parent corporation to have its malfunctioning factories shut down, and it had no choice other than to bear the blocks. In light of this, most individual units would refuse to expand their production capacities even if they managed to make profits. Instead, they invariably kept within low-level cycles, overlapping investments and duplicated many individual workshops. As a result of IDA, most foreign investors were reluctant to look towards India.

另外,出于对女性安全的考虑,《工厂法》规定“女工的工作时间仅限早6点至晚7点”。虽然表面上体现了“周到考虑”,但却又是一个“好心办坏事”的实例。由于工作时间被严格限制,女工的受雇机会和工作时间明显低于同等男工,这使本就倍受歧视的印度女性在职场继续被边缘化,并将女性进一步排除出劳动预备军,严重损害社会生产力的整体提高。

Let’s look at another example. To ensure the security of women laborers, Factories Act stipulated that“the working hours of woman laborers were kept between 6 am to 7 pm”. The stipulation seemed thoughtful, but turned out as an example how “good intentions bring about bad” outcomes. Their work hour being restricted, women found that their chance of being employed was lower that their male counterparts, and that they could barely work any longer even if they were willing to. Considering the already omnipresent prejudices they had to bear, women would become further marginalized in their professional careers, and excluded from the “reserve army” of laborers. The comprehensive production capacity of Indian society was unlikely to be enhanced under such circumstances.

这些政策法规造成了畸形、低效的产业结构:印度90%的劳动力受非正规部门雇佣,而自1991年经济改革以来,新增就业机会全部来自非正规部门;50%的劳动力属于自雇,而自雇劳动者大多处于经济链的底层;50%劳动力受雇于农业部门,但仅贡献了不到15%的GDP;12%的劳动力受雇于制造业,和后工业化时代的美国处于同一水平。

These regulations and laws resulted in a distorted and inefficient industrial structure: 90% of the labor force in India is hired informally. Since the economic reform of 1991, all the growth in job opportunities came from the informal sector. 50% of them are self-employed, mostly deep down in the lowest level of economic chain. 50% of them are employed in agricultural sector, which contributes less than 15% of India’s GDP. 12% of them are employed in manufacturing industries, the same level as the  post-industrial USA.

对于这样的现状,印度经济学家、人力资源专家Manish Sabharwal的评论极为精辟:“印度企业规模小,并非因为他们是处于事业初创期的‘婴儿’,而是因为被摇篮强压而畸变成了矮壮侏儒。”

Manish Sabharwal, a famous economist and HR expert in India, made an insightful comment on the current situation: “Most Indian corporations remain small-sized, not because they are ‘infants’ in the early stage of their development, but because they grow as short, bulky pigmies – crushed and deformed in their cradles.”

莫迪尚难纠正“正确”的错误 Modi is unable to fix those “rightful mistakes”

然而,不管政策法规如何压抑,印度的人口规模和经济体量决定了其刚性需求始终存在。

However, the sizes of Indian population and economy determine the fact that the basic need is always there, regardless of the suppression of policies and regulations.

据世界银行统计,2014年印度人口已达12.67亿,且保持1.2%的年均增速,平均年龄是26岁。人口基数大、增速较快,再加上较为年轻的人口结构,使印度获得巨大的人口红利。这也是印度进行劳动密集型产业开发,走向全面工业化的一次机遇。

According the  World Bank statistics, the population of India reached 1.267 billion in 2014, with an annual growth rate of 1.2%, and average age of 26. India is thus enjoying a notable “demographic bonus”, with a large population basis, rapid growth and relatively young age structure. Meanwhile, India is faced with a golden opportunity of developing labor intensive industries, and achieve broad based industrialization.

莫迪所在的印人党(BJP)是30年来印度政坛首个强势登台的政党,如何改革陈腐的劳工体制以撬动庞大的人口优势成为其核心议题之一。要知道,当年莫迪治下的古吉拉特邦取得经济高速发展的秘诀之一就是劳动体制改革。当投资者打消后顾之忧,大量资金涌入古吉拉特,并利用当地用工成本优势大举发展了劳动密集型产业,该邦也因此被誉为“印度的广东”。

BJP (Modi’s the political party) is a tough, strong newcomer on the political stage of India in recent 30 years. Since BJP started to rule, it remains a core issue for the party to reform the ancient, outdated labor system, and to make the best of the “demographic bonus” of India. It is noteworthy that the State of Gujarat, under the governance of Modi, achieved rapid economic growth for one key reason – reform in the labor system. After the apprehension of foreign investors was dispelled, Gujarat benefited from abundant foreign investment and the relatively low labor cost to develop labor-intensive industries. That’s why Gujarat is now dubbed “Indian version of Guangdong Province”.

软件服务业的例子更具说服力。一部2001年的法律将软件业、外包服务业等高端第三产业视为劳动法的例外行业,形成了“法外特区”。从此,服务业企业开始根据经营情况决定雇佣规模;女工也可以服务于24小时的全球呼叫中心;工程师能多劳多得,而免受劳动监察员的骚扰。“法外特区”不但没有因为监管缺位而混乱,反而凭借灵活的管理和自由的环境成为印度乃至全球最具竞争力的产业。

Perhaps a more persuasive example lies in the software service industry. A legislation of 2001 excluded software, outsourcing and other high-tech third generation industries from the current system of labor laws – becoming “special zones exempt from laws and regulations”. Since then, corporations of service industries are allowed to adjust the size of employment to their operational status. Besides, women can now work in the 24-hour global call centers, and engineers now enjoy “work more, earn more” arrangements, free from the interrogations of labor inspectors. These “special zones exempt from laws and regulations” did not fall into chaos owing to a lack of supervisions; instead, they now become the most competitive industries in India, and even worldwide, thanks to the flexible management and free business environment.

虽然前景光明,莫迪的改革却并不轻松。印度90%的劳动力集中于非正规部门,但是剩余10%却受雇于正规部门。值得玩味的是,参加这场反改革示威的人数恰好也占总人口的10%,这只是简单的巧合吗?

The future is bright, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Modi’s reform is easy. 90% of the labor force in India is in the informal sector, and the rest 10% in formal institutions. Let’s look at a tricky number – people who took part in recent anti-reform demonstrations account for 10% of Indian population – a simple coincidence?

受劳动法保护,正规部门的雇员往往享受“铁饭碗”。印度的铁路、银行、邮政、制造业等部门冗员无数,效率极其低下,但是随着改革推进,“铁饭碗”变得岌岌可危。但同时,正规部门恰恰是工会组织化、政治化程度最高的地方。相比于非正规部门的一盘散沙,正规部门的雇员往往组成各种工会,再通过工会组成政治联盟,以此影响政策走向。这种极高的政治组织度和动员能力与选票民主结合,成了坚不可摧的政治集团。毕竟,无论哪个政治家,若想挑战占人口10%的“投票集团”都等于政治自杀。

Protected by law, those employees of formal institutions are invariable secured with “iron rice bowls”. The departments of railway, bank, mail and manufacturing services in India are overflown with excess personnel, and are often accused of for their low efficiencies. After Modi pushed a series of reforms, they sensed the threat to lose their “iron rice bowls”. Meanwhile, these formal institutions usually have complete organizations of labor unions, and are often highly politicized. Compared with the collection of atomized individuals in those informal institutions, these formal ones would form various labor unions, and build them into political allies, so as to influence the trend of national politics. Such a  high degree of political organization and mobilization, in conjunction with ballot democracy gradually become indestructible political groupings. After all, if a politician ever dares to challenge the “ballot groups” that account for 10% of Indian population, he/she is committing suicide.

莫迪深知推动劳动制度改革会遭遇空前阻力,因此他特地选择从较为落后的拉贾斯坦邦率先推动。一开始,劳工改革在拉贾斯坦、北方邦等正规部门本就薄弱的地区推行是比较顺利的,可到了西孟加拉邦、喀拉拉邦等工会强大且正规部门占比较高的地方,难度陡然上升,因而出现“亿级”规模的骚动。这种骚动一旦固化为政治势力,很可能危及莫迪的执政基础,这样一来劳工改革只会胎死腹中。因此,不管改革调门多高,莫迪在劳工问题上都会慎之又慎。

Modi is fully aware of the formidable obstacles he has to face if he is to continue reforms in the labor system. In light of this, he chose the State of Rajasthan, which is relatively underdeveloped, as the experimental field. At first, reforms proved successful in the States of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where those formal institutions are relatively weak. But things became tough and complicated when the reforms moved to the States of West Bengal and Kerala, where the labor unions are strong, and formal institutions are proportionately more. Riots, involving hundreds of thousands of people, broke out. Once the disturbances consolidate politically, Modi’s government might be shaken at its foundation. In that case, Modi’s labor system reforms might fail even before being commenced. As a result, although Modi keeps making high-sounding noises about reform plans, he cannot afford to be too pushy o specific labor issues.

归根结底,印度劳工问题的实质是经济基础与上层建筑脱节的问题:法律、政策的顶层设计超前于经济、社会的基层现实而滋生出利益集团寄生的空间;而利益集团又利用虚高的顶层设计来固化既得利益,阻止外部力量来修正这种扭曲状态。从历史的宏观视野看,印度陈腐的劳工体制无疑是盘剥大部分人以奉迎小部分人的扭曲体制;但从社会的微观视角看,“劳工利益”、“社会公平”、“防止剥削”又显得无懈可击、难以辩驳。面对劳工制度的症结,也许莫迪的难处恰恰在于,他企图纠正的是一个“正确”的错误。

All said and done, labor issues in India reflect essential gaps between economic foundations and superstructure. The top-level designs of laws and policies far surpass the economic and social conditions at the grass root level, and spaces lie within for interest groups to be active. These interest groups use the well meaning top level designs to consolidate their vested interest, and prevent any outside forces from fixing the unfair, distorted state of affairs. From a broader perspective of history, the hackneyed labor system in India is, without doubt, a distortion that exploits most people and caters to the needs of a minority. But from the micro, social perspective, the labels “labor interest”, “social equality” and “anti-exploitation” seem unassailable and indisputable. Confronting the crux of labor issues in India, the tricky situation Modi has to handle is to do his best to fix those “rightful mistakes”.

 

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