Shyam Sundar is a prolific writer on industrial relations and trade unions. He is self-consciously a sympathetic critic of Indian trade unionism. These two volumes on labour institutions by him comprise a collection of the essays written by him in recent years, obviously in the context of globalisation. The first volume deals with various aspects of trade unionism and industrial conflicts in contemporary India while the second volume attempts an academic critique of the debates on labour market reforms during the post-globalisation decades.
The first volume contains two sections on ‘trade unions in India’ and ‘strikes and lockouts in India’, respectively. The essays on trade unions seek to highlight the issues, problems and strategies of organising and building alliances with other civil society organisations in order to rejuvenate labour organisations in the changed world. The second section on strikes and lockouts reveals the author’s extraordinary command over the official data on trade unionism and industrial conflicts. Although he is quite rightly sceptical about the authenticity and hence the usefulness of the official data on trade unions and industrial conflicts, he nonetheless relies almost entirely on these very unreliable data for arriving at definite conclusions.