Are employees in the Corporate Sector subject to Decent Work Conditions ?


A significant quote by Juan Somavia, Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO), is worth pondering upon, especially on an auspicious occasion such as the International Labour Day: “The primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity.”

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives – their aspirations for opportunity and income; rights, voice and recognition; family stability and personal development; and fairness and gender equality.

Sunita Shankar and her colleague Rajat Puri had joined as Assistant Managers in a travel company. Both of them had the same professional experience and their work performance have also been rated as same by the management, until a month back when Rajat was promoted as a Manager.

Sunita says, “My senior colleagues, mostly men, would want me to party and go out with them, post-office hours, which I cannot as I have ailing parents at home. When I got to know, unofficially, that Rajat was promoted because I am a lady and cannot be very aggressive as a ‘man’, besides not being able to wine and dine clients in late-night parties. This is a clear case of gender inequality.”

Anuj Saxena, who works as an Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications, in a leading multinational FMCG company says, “Our HR department ensures that everyone works only from 9am to 6 pm, with an off on weekends. Strict action is taken against a Reporting Manager if his subordinate is found working beyond the stipulated hours.”

“Stipulated working time has brought about a planned working culture in our organisation, besides giving plenty of time for an employee’s personal growth. S/he gets adequate time to spend with her/his family or indulge in some recreational activities.”

Saurabh Singh, is a General Manager, in a Delhi-based ad agency. Though the client boasts of some major companies as clients in their portfolio, Saurabh feels that the company bosses are just running a profit-centre and not being bothered about the employees.

He states his disgust as, “It would be hard to believe that considering the reputation of our company, the men’s restroom does not have a toilet seat, besides the fact that around 12 people have all been huddled up in one room (the actual capacity maybe being for only 8), left with the luxury of only a split AC and a couple of mini table fans.”

“We do not have a HR department to take up these issues with,” adds Saurabh.

“The peons/clerks, in our office reach office before us and if any of us has to stay back late on work, they also have to stay back - without being paid anything extra,” says Juhi Chawla, a senior official in a private bank.

“There is nobody who is bothered as to how will he reach home if he misses the last bus, let alone paying him a few bucks extra. And we are worried as to how would we drive back home in our fancy cars, if we get late at work by a couple of hours. Is this not discrimination towards the labour class who does not have a choice of raising these issues?”

Thus, decent work conditions are still a far cry in most organizations in the corporate sector. However, the senior management with the help of the HR department can play an active role in ensuring better work conditions and addressing of employee grievances.


- Suniet Bezbaroowa (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


(A few references have been taken from the ILO website,


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