Reports from Indian textile workers about their conditions, from autumn 2009.
These reports were told by workers during the distribution of Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar in autumn 2009. Most of the workers are employed in textile factories – some of them working for major companies like H&M, GAP or Calvin Klein. The textile export companies announced in December 2009 that the market is back on track and that exports to the US and Europe grow again.
Economic Times on 1st of December 2009:
Orient Craft – one of the biggest textile export company in India employing several ten thousand workers in Gurgaon alone – now opens another plant in Bhilwara in Rajasthan – a rather ‘deserted’ place. “Sitting at its Gurgaon headquarters, Orient Craft CMD Sudhir Dhingra says the new Bhilwara plant was necessitated by the surging demand from the US and Europe, and will produce 250,000 units a year. The company’s order-book has grown 15-20 percent in the past few months”.
A month later, we can find a different perspective on the ‘order-boom’ from the global north: more orders, but the pressure on prices increased even more.
Economic Times on 3rd of January 2010:
“Overseas buyers negotiating fresh contracts for the coming season are pressing for further discounts on already low prices, forcing textile firms to refuse some bookings. Gokaldas Exports Ltd explained that clients who would earlier buy a shirt at $8 want to pay only $6.5 now. “We can’t sell it at that price,” a manager said. “We need an upturn in the psyche of the US and European buyers in the coming year so that they go back to buying more premium brands because though volumes have risen, it is mostly in the lower-end of product lines which have lower margins.” Sudhir Dhingra, managing director of Orient Craft Ltd, said an order for around 1.8 million pieces of garments from Gap India, through which US-based Gap Inc. routes its imports, fell through last week because the Indian exporters involved in that deal couldn’t sell at the low rates quoted. Some export firms are even looking to replacing existing clients with new ones to capitalize on the recovering demand”. As if it were about the right choice of partners on the market…
Crisis induced escapist hopes in the textile sector’s management – on escapist tendencies in the automobile sector see article on Rico strike in this issue. If there is an escape it will be the productive escape of living labour leaving this rat race – and we have all reason to:
Coca Cola Worker
(276 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
Out of the 250 workers in the plant 150 do not get ESI or PF. Those of these 150 who have been hired recently get 2,500 Rs, those who work since ten years get 3,500 Rs. We work from 6-7-8am till 8-9-10pm. Over-time is paid at single rate.
Dhir International Worker
(299 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
Out of the 1,000 workers only 10 to 15 workers get ESI and PF, those in the sampling department. The thread cutting workers get 2,800 to 3,000 Rs. The other helpers get 3,774 Rs. Each month 200 to 300 Rs get embezzled. They do not give you the annual bonus. You work 100 to 125 hours of over-time each month, but they pay at single rate. When the inspector came on 30th of October 2009 the factory was spick and span. The management said: “If they ask then say that there is no over-time, or only two hours a day paid at double rate. And say that a doctor comes for health checks”. They showed a box with medical equipment to the inspector and removed it again after he left. There is no canteen in the factory.
Eastern Medikit Worker
(Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The casual workers in the factory work 12-hours shifts. The over-time payment of August was not paid by 30th of September 2009. Even after three years of employment as a casual they don’t pay you a bonus.
(292 Udyog Vihar Phase 2)
The 100 permanents work 8-hours shift, the 300 casuals on two 12-hours shifts. The over-time payment for the casuals is 15 Rs an hour. The casuals do not get the company bonus. The wage slip does not tell how much money is deducted for ESI or PF, the casuals get 3,110 Rs without further information.
Evergreen Leather / GAP Worker
The factory is situated in Dundahera. The workers produce leather jackets for GAP. No worker gets ESI or PF. The main factory is in Udyog Vihar Phase 5.
Gaurav International Worker
(506 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
The managers swear at us a lot. PF dues are cut from wages, but when workers leave the job they get no fund money, the company does not even fill in the PF form.
JAK Group Worker
(566 Udyog Vihar Phase 4, 344 and 356 Udyog Vihar Phase 6)
There are 700 workers employed in the three factories, working day in day out from 9am till 1am. You work 200 to 215 hours over-time, paid single rate, normally 20 hours get embezzled. Ninety per cent of the workers are male, ten per cent are female. May be 20 per cent of the male workers get ESI and PF. If the inspector comes the rest of the workers are kicked out of the factory beforehand – and this day they do not get paid. The wage of the female helpers is 2,600 to 2,800 Rs, the male get 2,800 to 3,150 Rs.
Kailash Ribbon Worker
(403 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
The newly hired helpers are paid 3,000 Rs. They get neither ESI nor PF.
Ridhima Overseas Worker
(662 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
There are 150 workers employed in the sampling, cutting, finishing, packing departments. The manufacturing / tailoring takes place in a different factory. Only three women workers out of the 150 get ESI and PF. The helpers get 2,800 to 3,600 Rs the sampling tailors get 5,000 to 5,500 Rs. The September wages have not been paid yet – on 31st of October 2009. When we asked for wages the general manager sweared at us and kicked three workers out the job – on 28th of October 2009. There are 50 to 60 hours of monthly over-time paid at single rate. The over-time of July, August, September has not been paid yet. There are insects in the drinking water, some workers fell ill. The toilets are dirty. If you leave the job they do not pay you the outstanding wages – or they pay too little. They pay the police in order to make them threaten you.
Krishna Label Worker
(162 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
They pay the minimum wage, but instead of 8 hours a day they make us work 9.5 hours for it. They did not pay the DA for July onwards. There is lack of drinking water. The tanker arrives late. If they sack you they don’t pay the outstanding wages.
Crew Bos Products / CK Worker
(199 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
We have not been paid our September wages yet – on 31st of October 2009. We work 70 to 90 hours over-time per month, they pay at double rate, but the over-time for August and September has not been paid. They produce leather goods for CK here.
Modelama Export Worker
(105 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
I was kicked out of the big factory on 4th of September 2009 after having clocked in 5 minutes too late. I went to the factory again and again, but I still have not been given my August wages – on 30th of September 2009.
Orchid Overseas Worker
(128 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
Out of the 500 workers in the factory 150 are on regular wages, the others are on piece rate. We work 70 to 80 hours over-time per month, they pay less than single rate: 15 Rs per hour. Here we produce stuff for Spirit, PS and Next.
Poddar Export Worker
(637 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
The helpers get 2,700 Rs, working 12-hours shifts is normal. ESI and PF is cut from the 500 workers’ wages, but when you leave the job the company does not fill in the PF form.
(194 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The 50 workers who are hired directly by the company get the annual bonus, the 450 workers hired through contractor do not get it. The helpers get 3,500 Rs.
Rakheja Enterprise Worker
(A-74 Udyog Vihar Phase 4)
The helper in the factory get 2,600 Rs, the skilled workers getv 120 Rs for an 8-hours shift. Work starts at 9:30am and finishes at 8pm. Over-time is paid at single rate. Out of 350 workers 10 get ESI and PF. The drinking water is bad. The bosses swear.
(215 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
We work 100 hours over-time per month. They make you sign that you get double rate, actually they give less than single rate. They say: “If somebody asks then say that you get double rate. Otherwise the factory will close down. We have so many factories here, in NOIDA, in Okhla, therefore it does not matter to us when we close down one of them. But you workers will be in trouble”. There are 500 workers in the factory, but only 50 to 60 older workers get ESI and PF. When we ask for it they say: “We would have to cut 13.75 per cent from your wages. How much money would be left for you”? If they make us stay till 2am they give us 18 Rs for food in the canteen. The food is not right and it does not fill your belly. It is daily practice that the guard at the gate threatens you with calling goons.
Richa / GAP Worker
(239 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
The daily working-times are from 9am till 11pm. Only the first two hours of over-time are paid at double rate. The workers hired through three different contractors who cut threads, fit buttons or accessories are only paid single rate and don’t get ESI or PF. We produce stuff for GAP.
Sani International Worker
(330 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
We work from 9:30am till 9pm, when they force us to stay till 10:30pm they give us 10 Rs for food, if we have to stay till 2am we get 20 Rs. Over-time is paid at single rate. We manufacture goods for Premima. The workers hired through contractor don’t get ESI or PF. There is no canteen. The toilets are dirty.
Sargam / H&M Worker
(153 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
There used to be 500 workers in this factory, now there are 300 left. The bosses swear at us a lot and they like to sack people or sent them home unpaid. Even if they make us stay till 5am they won’t give any money for meals. You work 70 to 150 hours of over-time per months – but at some days they just send you back home, so the over-time gets lost. They pay the minimum wage, but each month 200 to 500 Rs get embezzled. They paid the Diwali bonus, but of that 200 to 400 Rs disappeared, as well. The toilets are bad, there is no water and no lock – people have to cue up.
Shan Export / Sign Impex Worker
(254 Udyog Vihar Phase 1)
There are 1,000 workers employed in the factory, as many as in the other two plants in 330 Phase 2 and 463 Phase 3. Only the middle-management is hired directly by the company. We work from 9:30am till 10:30 pm, often till 2am – about 125 hours of over-time per month. They did not pay the 74 Rs of July 2009. They cut money for ESI and PF, but they issue no cards and do not cash out fund money. They swear a lot at you – that is the rule in export factories. If you work till 2am they give you 20 Rs for food. You have little time to go to the toilet, there is always a queue. There is no canteen.
Shivank Export Worker
(671 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
We work from 9am till 7:30pm. The helpers get 3,000 Rs, the skilled worker 140 Rs for 8 hours. Out of the 1,000 workers 10 get ESI and PF.
SS International Worker
(821 Udyog Vihar Phase 5)
The helpers get 2,500 Rs – now they say that we will pay 2,800 Rs. The tailors get 125 Rs for 8-hours shifts. Work starts at 9:30am, normally it finishs at mid-night. Often we have to work till 2am or even 8am. Amongst us 200 workers no one gets ESI or PF. They give us two half-hour breaks for eating, there is no break for drinking tea. The over-time oayment is delayed. There is only one tap for 200 workers to get drinking water. manager swear at us a lot.
Viva Global Worker
(413 Udyog Vihar Phase 3)
The DA is paid with six months delay. Only after two months of employment you are registered for ESI and PF. The behaviour of the seniors is not good, they swear at people.
From Gurgaon workers news #22