ITUC considers India as one of 10 worst countries in the world for workers. It scores 5 on the ITUC Global Rights Index (scale 1-5) for freedom of association and workers’ rights, meaning rights are not guaranteed. Whereas laws and regulations may include certain rights, in practice workers effectively have no access to these rights and are instead exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices. In 2019, there were brutal suppression of strikes against workers asking for due payment of wages and better working conditions, mass layoffs and laws were adopted that undermine workers’ rights.
94% of the workforce in India is employed in the informal economy. For the large group of workers in the informal sector (mainly poor/illiterate migrants from the countryside or small cities), only a few of the social security measures are implemented. In addition, there is a large group of casual labourers that are hired for a day, a week or a season and live below the social minimum. For many exporting sectors (including clothing, natural stone, tea sector) common practices are labour without a contract, wages below the legal minimum and poor labour conditions.