Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Workers in the Supply Chain of Electronics Industry in India: The Case of Samsung
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://amrc.org.hk/system/files/Workers in the Supply Chain of Electronics Industry in India.pdf
Abstract
This paper attempts to analyse the dynamics of the electronics industry and the fate of electronics
workers in India in the broader context of the problems of India’s economic development in the
new global politico
-
economic regime. The electronics industry recorded a significant growth after
liberalization. However, the nature of this growth is raising serious concerns. The growth is mainly
in IT services, and not in electronics manufacturing. Moreover, whatever is the growth in electronics
manufacturing, it appears to be more import intensive. The value added in this industry in India is
merely 5
-
10 per cent. All electronics giants with manufacturing bases in India, such as Samsung, LG,
Dell and
Hewlett Packard, import 90 per cent of parts from overseas. In the case of Samsung the
majority of the components are imported from Korea, Singapore and China. Current government
initiatives in the form of a new electronics policy and the new manufacturing investment zones poli-
cy are an attempt to accelerate the growth in electronics manufacturing.
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ty of them are in the informal sector. Moreover, a significant portion of jobs in the formal sector are
also informalised. The huge majority of units engages less than 40 workers each and therefore is
exempted from various labour laws including the Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers stat-
ute. Further relaxations in labour laws are extended to electronics industries under various schemes
in most of the states of India. The expansion of this industry in India is comparatively new and
therefore the majority of the workforce in this sector is mostly first generation workers.
There are rarely any trade unions in electronics sector. However, recent strikes in some electronics
manufacturing plants show that the process has started. The working conditions in the industry are
some of the worse. The majority of workers receive only minimum wages. There are serious prob-
lems of occupational health and safety. Samsung in Noida (Uttar Pradesh) is using the strategy of
exploiting the apprentice workers in a big way. There are no agency workers in this factory. Howev-
er, the ITI apprentices constitute about 50 per cent of the workforce. There is a significant differ-
ence in wages of regular workers and apprenticeship. It seems that this is going to be a general
trend in the industry. To organize the electronics industry workers, it is necessary to focus on the
cluster of electronics manufacturing plants emerging in various regions. Awareness building cam-
paigns among workers in these clusters and among the students of ITIs that are supplying the ap-
prentices to these clusters can be used as an initial strategy to create common platforms of elec-
tronics industry workers and ITI students.

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