Sunday, March 27, 2011

Working condition of a Scheduled Cast Garment Worker in Surat


Worker's Name- Kalu

Social and economic background of the respondent

He said: I am a permanent resident of a village in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. I am a Hindu and from scheduled cast. My village is Brahmin dominated. Most of the land is in the hand of the Brahmins. Most scheduled cast (Chamar) community is either agricultural worker or working in Industries in different parts of the country. Some of them are working in different industries of Surat.
He continues: There are five members in my family. Two elder brothers are living separately from my father. And now both are living in Noida. I my self, my sister and a brother are living with my father. My father is a shoe maker and has a very small shoe shop in the market of my village. But his earning is not sufficient for our family. He takes loan so often for food and other purposes of the family. My sister is around 13 years and my brother is around 10 years of age. My father has taken a loan of Rs 3000 at4 percent interest in January 2010 from a Brahmin of my village. My brother and sister are working now for that Brahmin because my father has no other source of income to return his dues.
Job Satisfaction
He said: I came here in the month of January of this year with a friend of my village. He is working in this factory since two year. Factory owner gives me a job of helper in his factory. Factory owner is a gentle person so most of the workers have no complaint against him. All workers say him Babu Saheb.
He continues: It is a grey cloth factory. Factory owner is Jain but I don’t know his name. There is no signboard so I don’t know the name of the factory. There are thousands of factories in this area. But none of them have any signboard by which you can know the name of the factory. There is an alliance between factory owners and labour Inspectors. Most of the factory owner gives a bribe to labour Inspectors. So, all factory owners are sure from any action taken by labour department.
He said: My normal working hour is 12. In April, May, June and December, January, February factory have more work. In peak season I work more than 14 hours daily. It is compulsory for any factory worker to work overtime. No worker can leave factory in peak season otherwise it is possible that he will loss his salary. Factory owner gives payment to every worker for extra hours (overtime work). But he does not give double rate payments for overtime work.
He said: In peak season not only helpers like me but most of the workers face the problem of sleeping disorders. T.B. and Asthma is a common disease in between grey cloth workers. Most of the worker also faces problem of headache and fever in this season. But factory owner never gives us any medical facility.
He said: I always feel a pain in my backbone. Doctor says that I should take a bed rest for minimum 15 days. But it is not possible for me to go on bed rest. My brother and sister are working as a bonded labour in my village. So I want to see them free from the trap of that Brahmin. That’s why I have taken a loan of Rs 4000 from my factory owner. I sent this money to my father. Now my brother and sister will be free from Brahmins loan. I am staying here in factory from the date of loan taken by me. It is not a pressure of factory owner. Actually I want to save some money so I am staying here. After 5-10 month I will pay all the dues of my factory owner.
Salary related problems
He said: I find Rs 1500 in a month from factory owner. He gives me this amount for 12 hour working. When I work overtime in peak season, I find some extra wages. I never find my salary in the first week of the month. Mostly I find my salary in second week of the month.
(interview taken by Devendra Pratap, mb: 09719867313)

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