Swacch Bharat? Urinals don't exist in 30% Surat textile units, where 92% workers aren't paid minimum wages: Study

Powerloom units in Surat
By Our Representative
A new study on the working conditions textile units of Surat in South Gujarat -- powerloom, processing, embroidery, garment units, and composite mills -- has revealed that 82 per cent workers do not receive any payslip on receiving their salary, hence they have no written proof from the managements whether they receive the amount they are be legally entitled to get.
Carried out by the Vadodara-based People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), which works on occupational health issues across Gujarat, the study has also found that in 92 per cent of cases "minimum wages are not paid". Said PTRC's Jagdish Patel, author the study, "Most workers did not know what should be their minimum wages. Hence, we had to ascertain how much they were paid to find out whether they earned the minimum wages they were entitled to."
Presented at a workshop in Ahmedabad, the study, involving 50 textile units, revealed that 72 per cent workers did not get any bonus, and 56 per cent workers were made to work on weekly holidays, though they were "not paid any extra wages for this." Significantly, most of the workers are migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.
The study is based on direct interview with 50 textile workers and interaction with other stake holders -- managements, industry and workers' associations, as also academics studying their conditions. "About 36 per cent of workers were employed through contractors", the study said, adding, "While only 12 per cent of the workers enjoyed permanent status, 70 per cent were temporary."
Inside a unit
The study further said that if 82 per cent of the workers were not given any identity card, none of the workers working in the powerloom units had any of it. About 20 per cent workers knew about provident fund (PF), but just 10 per cent were made part of' it. Worse, Dearness Allowance was not linked with wages. And on an average 74 per cent had to work for 12 hours a day, but they were not paid any overtime after eight hours' work.
According to the study, while 64 per cent workers said that they received immediate treatment in case of a medical emergency, only 10 per cent were found to be taking advantage of the Government of India's Employees' Insurance Scheme (ESI) hospitals, in which all industrial workers are supposed to get free medical treatment. This is because most of the units are not registered with ESI. There are four ESI hospitals in Surat.
According to the study, while noise pollution is a major occupational hazard in all textile units, with 68 per cent workers complained about it, 50 per cent workers said they may catch an occupational disease, including those related with skin, noise and respiration. "While eight per cent workers said they had caught an occupational disease, 10 per cent added their colleagues were suffering from it", the study said.
The study further found that while 55 per cent workers said that they were not offered cold water during summer, 12 per cent said there was no facility of drinking water in their units. Also, 10 per cent workers said there were no toilets in their units, 30 per cent said, there was no urinals. "Worse, while 39 of the 50 units, we were told, employed female workers, 23 units had separate toilets for them, while 11 units did not give any reply on this", Patel said.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
What a shame!
Urvashi Devi said…
The textile mills should be responsible