David Beale of the Manchester Business School and Ernesto Noronha of the Indian Institute of Management have an article available on public sector unions in Gujarat and West Bengal.
Using qualitative research methods and comparing two Indian states (Gujarat and West Bengal), the authors examine the relative power and influence of trade unions in three parts of the public sector, viz., state government employment, municipal bus and tram services, and telecommunications. The distinctive methodology and the findings emphasise the importance of caution in generalising about trade unionism and industrial relations in India as a whole; and indicate that the context of particular Indian states is a vital ingredient of trade union analysis. The authors identify a complex web of explanatory factors for the relative power and influence of the unions under study, within the distinctive political, economic and historical contexts of Gujarat and West Bengal. Thus, they demonstrate the largely untapped potential for primary, qualitative and comparative research to expand our understanding of industrial relations in India.