I never had an opportunity to meet Dr Vivek Monteiro till recently although it was one of the item on my long wish list. I wanted to listen to his views on labour law reforms. The desire to meet him grew stronger when I met Mr Pramod Mahatme, IR Chief of Wipro who had met Dr Monteiro [both Goans] and Mahatme talked about him.
I called up Dr Monteiro and set up a meeting. His office is in the lane that moves up from Mangatram petrol pump; not too far away from it. While I worked at the Bhandup factory of Asian Paints and have moved through many lanes and by-lanes of Bhandup, I had never spotted the CITU office. It is a two storey building. ‘Sangharsh Karyalay.’ It houses many CITU organisations. And a Workers’ Educations Centre named after Prabhakar Sanzgiri, a well-known and respected CITU labour leader.
Dr Monteiro’s office on the first floor is actually a large hall, very simple, with a few tables and about ten persons working there. With a lot of papers lying there. Somebody pointed out Dr Monteiro among them and I approached him.
I introduced myself and came straight to the point. I wanted to record his video, I told him and said that I wanted him to share his views on current labour scenario. He took a little time to organise his thoughts. His thoughts couldn’t be captured in a five minute video, he said. I was prepared to record the entire session, time was not a constraint. We moved to a small room to record the video.
Dr Monteiro appears to be a man in his mid-sixties. He speaks in a low tone, but in a measured way. His statements are concise and precise. The assertions which come in this way point clearly to a dispassionate and in-depth study of the subject. Being a CITU leader, his framework of analysis is known to us. Yet he does not appear theoretical and dogmatic in his approach. Perhaps that’s the hallmark of a thinker! [His education: PhD in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics from State Univ of New York at Stony Brook, MS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, California (1968-70).]
Labour reforms is a widely discussed and debated subject. Yet the kind of reforms which are being brought about are quite obviously far from being well thought out. And you don’t have to be a leftist to say this. That is surely the subject of another blog. I haven’t edited this video, that is to say, no part of Dr Monteiro’s speech is edited in any way. His views are worth a study.
Do watch this video.
For his views on labour reforms take a look at this article in Sabrang: ‘Can the Modi government attack on labour rights be beaten back?’
Vivek S Patwardhan