Sunday, April 20, 2014

What I got from work sites mishaps

This put paid the idea that lowly paid foreign workers at our construction sites are happy. Forget about the COI on the Little India riot. The most powerful bullying weapon is FEAR. These workers are afraid to be repatriated with debt up to their eyeballs.

You must be out of your mind to think workers would put their lives at risk. They only do so because they calculated the risk to be acceptable, which we know isn't. However beyond a certain accident rate, they will revolt. If we don't improve our record and let this rot, we are nursing a time bomb.

Forget about market forces setting prices. Before we talk market, we must address the distribution of power. These workers have no pricing power just as we also have to willy nilly accept the monopoly prices of public transport operators etc.,

It is the same in every society. If the government would  not have enforceable laws to protect those without bargaining power, they would be bullied. The strategy of many jobs chasing few workers do not work for two reasons. One, they continue to let in too many foreigners here to work despite cutting back drastically. Two, the employers have more staying power than the workers who must meet ends meet. In the end the worker have to settle against himself or herself. As wages are sticky, once you get it down because of many years of letting in so many foreigners, it is hard to raise it even if you reduce or even cut the inflow. Sure in time this would be redressed but that would take years.

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