Right to work means an opportunity to work as a means to earn livelihood. It has been very much in prominence in the past and has been dominating the scenario of national and international political movements based upon its recognition as legal right of the citizens.
It is significant to note that there has never been any trade union movement or a mass political upheaval demanding right to work as a constitutional guarantee from the respective government in any part of the world.
As a matter of fact, ‘right to work as constitutional guarantee was enshrined in the constitution of the rest while Soviet Union after Revolution in Russia in 1917.
This was, however, for the first time that state assumed responsibility of providing employment to its citizens as gesture of social welfare. And this was something very subtle to win over the people to the Socialist Revolutions.
It was not just a wishful thinking but a practicable proposition in a proletariat state where there was a completely controlled economy through, socialization of all means of production and state was in full control of all the sectors of economy.
Under this system, also known as collective ownership of the means of production, there were no private sectors. Entire economy was split into two sectors-state-owned or the collective and the cooperative. The latter was mostly in rural or the agricultural sector, side by side with the collective farming.
Since the economy was completely controlled, there was massive planning covering all spheres and areas of production. The manpower development and ’employment were interlinked a correlated to one another. Consequent upon it, there were neither economic crises of over and under production nor the prices showed any spiral trend. It was also free from any sort of competition, no evils of monopoly and labour exploitation.
In this economy, there was no room for any discrimination on any ground as right to work was a fundamental right of the Soviet citizens. Manpower being under completes state control; it was neither exported nor imported, except under any specific scheme of the government related to cooperation with friendly countries.
The right to work as guaranteed in the constitution of the west while Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) without any discrimination of race, religion, caste and class was, however, not restricted to the citizens of the respective states.
Any able bodied citizen having required qualifications and fitness for the job could be appointed to resume duty in any state of the USSR. In all this process it was responsibility of the state to provide jobs to citizens while citizens were required to get their enlistment in the local bureau.
With a view to making it more amenable and ascertain its tenability for the citizens, state also evolved such a system of education and training in which the students were free to choose their faculties and grow their talents under the patronage of the state. It did not depend upon the economic status of their parents. Right to work as such was also backed by entire facilities of acquiring qualifications on part of state.
The ideal of a welfare state has always been in hot pursuit of the political thinkers in the past. But it has remained just a wishful thinking or a utopia that could never be visualized. Because, it was not practicable and there was no systematic approach to realize it also.
Moreover, the concept of the social welfare was also not so clear and class character of the society and state was also not as much realized earlier than the founders of the scientific socialism and revolution of 1917 in Russia. And this was visualized in ‘right to work’ as enshrined in the constitution of the erstwhile USSR. Social welfare in real terms was realized by successful enforcement of this right by the Soviet government.
Under the new world order based on criteria of free trade, there is no room for right to work. Instead, there is stress for improved conditions of the work-obviously to dispense with the risk of labour unrest and its adverse effects on production. As such, under this system, nations may prosper in collaboration of multinational companies but not the ‘have- notes.’ Because, for the latter, it is recognition have right to work to bestow real welfare upon them and nothing else.