The Proletariat Cyborg.

AuthorMajumder, Mrinmoy

Collective identity politics in the labor relations have been the predominant form of worker agency representation. Since the industrial revolution time, trade unionism has been considered to be a vital intermediary in securing betterment of work and living conditions of the workers. Trade unions played an active role in representing workers and the collective actions have been instrumental in achieving the present day labor regulations both at local and international levels (Tripathi & Parmatam, 1988; Mamkoottam, 2006; Neilson & Bill 2009; Sinha et al., 2013). While the prominence of workers' collective identity is considered vital, the contemporary work relations have been putting forth challenges towards this traditional form of collective identity (trade union). Contrarily, the new form of service industry such as the information and communication technology/information technology enabled services (ICT-ITES), specifically those involving high-end knowledge workers, the formal collectivization is becoming obsolete and redundant. Hence, in such a context, what could be the new form of collectivization? An upcoming phenomenon of technology-mediated collectivization is coming up, where one can see agitation and activism through online platforms and social networking sites. Some of the trade unions have also picked up this mode of collectivism, however it poses great challenge in terms of getting people on equal footing and conduct meaningful campaign or tangible outcomes.

Less knowledge is available on the collective identity politics through the perspective of technology mediation and contemporary workspaces (ICT-ITES, manufacturing R&D, retail and banking). The lesser willingness of the knowledge worker to follow the traditional unionization path appeals for an extensive research that can analyze how the knowledge workers see the 'value' of their work and why they shy away from the collective actions.

One of the key incentives for IT investors in India has been the absence of a strong union in this sector. Although, there has been no direct mention of a restriction of unions at the workplace, Nasscom (National Association of Software and Services Companies) constantly tries to monitor the sector and discourages formal collectivization. In an interview (Business Line, 2005), former president of Nasscom, said, "Employees in IT and ITES sector do not need any external intervention as they are looked after very well". It reflects the...

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