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Gurgaon Workers News – Newsletter 17 (May 2009)

Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, Asia’s biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even contribute to this project, please do so via:

http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com
gurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk

In the May 2009 issue you can find:

1) Proletarian Experiences -
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** I am not in a cage anymore
Auto-biographic story of a 49 years old driver about his experience as a working-class Sikh in Delhi since the 1970s, his experiences as a proletarian militant in a religious organisation, the shock of the anti-Sikh riots, his disillusionments and revelations…
The story was told to FMS and published in issue 247, January 2009. In FMS longer stories about the (daily) life of workers are published under the heading “Aap-Ham kya-kya karte hain”, asking “So what are you-we doing”. The series emphasises the need to talk about ourselves regaining a sense of importance of our experiences and make them heard – against the big noise of the public life of stars, leaders, cooperate identities…

*** Math and Wrath of Misery -
The workers’ reports tell us about average daily wages for workers in modern industries of about 100 Rs. This short note puts this wage in a context of daily expenditures. Followed by a short impression of distributing the Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar in Gurgaon, Udyog Vihar.

*** Long list of short workers’ reports -
About wage and working conditions in Gurgaon factories. The reports are gathered/spread during the monthly distribution of ‘Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar’ (Faridabad Workers’ News). The reports were gathered/spread between November 2008 and March 2009. We can see an impact of the economic slump, particularly in the automotive manufacturing sector, where shift hours have been reduced.

Alankar Creation
Anand Nishikawa (Maruti Suzuki supplier)
Bharat Export
Bharat International
Campari Export
Chintu Fashion
Condor
Dhir International (textiles for GAP)
Eastern Medikit
Evergreen International
Femme Highfashion Garments
Gaurav International (textiles for GAP)
GOM Export
Grafty Export
Gulati Export
Instyle
Krishna Label
Lara Exports
Logwell Forge (Maruti Suzuki supplier)
Mass Enterprise
Mag Filter (Maruti Suzuki supplier)
Mod Syrup Industries
Modelama (textiles for GAP)
Modern Lace House
MY Fashion
Omega Design
Orient Clothing
Pearl Global
Premium Moulding and Pressing
Richa and Company
Richa Global
Ridhima Export
Radnik Export
Rangi International
Rolex Auto
Sargam Export
S&R Export
Shahi Exports (Faridabad: GAP, Old Navy, Target, Spirit and Hugo Boss)
Spark
Viva Global
Winter Wear

*** Proletarian Poverty and Common Wealth Games -
After a deadly work accident on the huge Common Wealth Games construction site in Delhi workers struck and destroyed company property. The accident was just the last straw – the general working-conditions are bad enough and the credit and profit squeezed construction companies (see short summary) have to pass the squeeze on to the workers. People’s Union for Democratic Rights has just published a report on the conditions on the site:

http://www.pudr.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&Itemid=63&gid=179

*** Another fatal factory fire -
On 1st of May 2009 the Lakhani shoe factory in Faridabad Sector-24 caught fire, six workers were killed, 30 more were injured severely. According to workers, a blast in the boiler next to the basement of the two-storey factory caused the fire. The police claim that the factory owner has disappeared.

2) Collective Action -
Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** Tecumseh Workers’ Report -
About re-structuring process and workers’ resistance at Tecumseh compressor manufacturing factory, formerly belonging to the multi-national Whirlpool.

3) According to Plan -
General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

*** Real Estate of Crisis in Gurgaon -
Short summary about current real estate crisis in Gurgaon. The gold rush is over, the makers of neo-liberal bubble/town Gurgaon leave behind concrete-steel skeletons, tomb-stones of their unfinished business.

*** Security Fears -
Private-Public Re-armament in Gurgaon. One of the main real estate developers DLF now ventures into the boom sector of crisis, profiting from the post-Mumbai-attack upper-middle-class paranoia: in Gurgaon DLF sets up a training camp for it’s Terra Force, a security company based on low-paid labour of a migrant-peasant work-force.

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** Help from some friends -
People in Delhi area who are up for helping with the newsletter, who have stories to share or who want to give a hand, heart and mind for distributing Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar in the area, please get in touch.

*** Glossary -
Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

1) Proletarian Experiences -
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** Auto-biographic story of a 49 years old driver about his experience as a working-class Sikh in Delhi since the 1970s

The story was told to FMS and published in issue 247, January 2009. In FMS longer stories about the (daily) life of workers are published under the heading “Aap-Ham kya-kya karte hain”, asking “So what are you-we doing”. The series emphasises the need to talk about ourselves regaining a sense of importance of our experiences and make them heard – against the big noise of the public life of stars, leaders, cooperate identities…

“I get up at 5:30 in the morning. I wash and get ready, which takes till 6:30. At 7 my daughter leaves the house to study. My son studies trade in Ahmedabad. I talk to my wife, having gotten up at 4:30 am she goes to have a rest – I read a book. My relatives have subscribed to two newspaper, but although I take them inside I don’t read them, there is so much bad news in them. At 8 o’clock I go and wash the car of my boss. I return, have breakfast and wait for the phone call from my boss. After 9:30 you already start to feel the tension of waiting for the phone call. Three days per week the boss is in the Delhi office, three days he is out of office. If he goes to the office then he wants to leave by 10:30 am. There I again I sit in the room for the drivers…

My parents got engaged at the frontier (Pakistan) and came here to Faridabad when they got married. My father and his associate ran sawing machines and a workshop – he drank a lot which saddened my mother. But I experienced no lack of anything. In the house there were neem and guava trees and grapes. My paternal grandmother raised goats and chicken. There was a lot of space to play…

In 1974 my father’s work and professional life came to an end. I was the oldest of his sons – when I was sixteen and a half years old I started working in a factory…

I stay in the office until the boss returns from Faridabad, normally at 7 o’clock in the evening. When the boss has to go on more distant trips by aeroplane I drop him at the airport at 5 or 5:30 pm and I accomplish other tasks for his family afterwards. If he goes by car then I have to drive for twelve hours and I return home after 15 hours of work. When I drive my brain falls into driving mode – if I would start thinking about other things there would be chaos. All I can concentrate on is to save me or other people from accidents. In 2001 it took me four hours to get from Faridabad to Chandigarh. Today he has a good and big car, the roads are wide and well maintained, there are so many fly-overs, nevertheless the same trip now takes me six hours, because of all the traffic and the many stop-and-goes. On the highways you go 120 to 150 kilometres per hour – if you don’t drive that fast the cars behind you would beep at you: drive at the side or drive fast. I have seen many accidents. Once I had a small crash – after a short while you drive at the same fast speed again. The boss has to travel fast – the meeting times are fixed.
When he is out of Delhi the boss stays in five star hotels. The room rent is 8 to 11,000 Rs per night, if he cannot get these rooms he also pays 14,000 Rs. I look for a 150 to 200 Rs room for the night. You have most trouble when the boss is in a discussion and the drivers have to wait in the car. The bosses are quite shrewd they say that they keep valuable stuff with them so that the drivers won’t leave the cars. The drivers laugh about such talk, but they are forced to do their job. When the coin drops on head, the boss wins, so does he when it drops tail. Once in a while when you have to sit alone in the car for three or four hours, what kind of things do come to your mind!

In 1977 I became a permanent worker at Gedor Hand Tools (a company with headquarter in Germany) and I joined a religious organisation. After work I left the house at 5 in the evening, on the bicycle together with my friends from the organisation and I would come back at 10 or 11 at night. We read and taught Gurugranth and had religious debates. I was just about to return from Ropar, when the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 started. The Pipali bus stopped at half the way and returned to Ropar, where I stayed for 17 days. My little brother had to go to Patna for work when he was attacked in a train – he received 70 slashes. My fathers shop here in Faridabad was set on fire. Three special friends of mine lost their lifes in Delhi. A relative was burnt alive in Delhi. On his way from Faridabad to Delhi the father of a friend was burnt alive at Tugalkabad station. Two of ten friends who arrived from Mumbai were killed at Mathura station. A friend who came from Delhi was caught and his hair cut. In the factory some guys said: “Go and throw the guy with the black turban into the furnace”. There was bitterness before, but the killings increased my hate towards the government and the Hindus. I became even more active in the religious organisation. I was married in 1987. Despite my wife and later the children I became more active. But ten years later things started to change… Now the thought of taking revenge does not cross my mind anymore. Revenge against whom? It is the question of a whole system. Having long hair or a shaved head – this is not of importance.
There was a lot going on in the place were I used to work, but at that time I did not spend much thoughts on this. In 1996 when the company stopped paying wages I did not go there anymore. With the support of my wife I tried out various kinds of work – for little money in return. I started fruit-sweet shops at two places. I supplied the tea-stalls with home-made sweets. Grocery stores. I transported rice on rickshaws and sold it in the area. I put up a drill machine in the house and did out-sourced work for bigger work-shops with it – when my wife and me finished work worth 40 Rs we took break-fast – the children were little and for that while we could not give much time to the organisation. In 1999 I was told to start working for the organisation – 1,000 Rs would go to the organisation and 1,000 Rs would go to finance the work-shop of a guy who held a position within the organisation. I started to drive the school car of the organisation. While driving I also collected the dues for the organisation. I thought that I would serve the organisation, but everyone saw me as their servant. I had to do all work – it was a 24 hours job. I had no time left for my family. Therefore I started driving for a boss in 2001.
I am a worker. This is something I have understood. I started to move away from the religious organisation. Now they call me every now and again, but I keep myself distant. I am not in a cage anymore, I now watch the sky.

If the boss stays in the Delhi office I return home at about 7:30 pm. I go to the bazaar with my wife and daughter. If I come back from a tour I am tired. I rest. I don’t go anywhere. You have to go and see your relatives. You have to go in bad or good times. It is wrong to stay in trading, this finishes love and joy and laughter within and between each other. Someone who becomes a trader laughs on one side and makes money on the other.

At 9 o’clock at night, I watch some TV after the meal and go to sleep at 11 o’clock. On Sundays I get up earlier than at the other days. I prepare the breakfast myself. I prepare the veggies for the meal myself. To cook, to eat and make food for other people I like a lot.

*** Math and Wrath of Misery -

The workers’ reports tell us about average daily wages for workers in modern industries of about 100 Rs. This short note puts this wage in a context of daily expenditures. Followed by a short impression of distributing the Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar in Gurgaon, Udyog Vihar.

In the following reports workers talk about the basic working conditions, the long working times, the meagre wages. In daily life these ‘economical’ conditions become instantly political: the feeling of physical exhaustion next to fast running modern machines, the pondering over each single Rupee on the background of one’s own experience of mass production of export and consumer goods, on the background of Gurgaon’s urban wealth. An industrial worker will get about 100 Rs daily wage. If you share the most basic 9 sqm room with two friends your daily rent will be around 20 Rs. If you have to travel to work by bus or auto it will cost you 10 Rs at least. 70 Rs left. If you cook yourself and you want basic, but nutritious food these 70 Rs will not take you very far. A kilo of rice can cost you 20 to 30 Rs easily. One kilo carrots may well be 30 Rs. If you reduce your diet to rice, lentils and the occasional vegetables and dairy product you might get by with 30 Rs, plus 100 to 150 Rs for gas each month. This is less than 40 Rs left for your day. How much will your train ticket be to make a visit at home, which might be 1,000 km or further away – easily 500 to 1,500 Rs? How much might the doctor take or the medicine cost if you get ill? How much should you save and on what? A new pair of sandals is around 100 Rs, a new shirt not cheaper. Visiting a friend in Delhi would be 30 Rs for an hour bus drive. What about a treat? The smallest fresh fruit juice from the roadside hand-presses are around 15 Rs, a small packet of peanuts in the shop around 20 Rs. A beer is 50 Rs, the cheapest 10-pack of cigarettes 28 Rs – beyond the budget. And how to pay back one’s debts? Arriving in a new town requires expenses. A most basic mattress to sleep on can easily be 300 Rs, a plastic bucket to wash your clothes 60 to 70 Rs, a new 5 kg gas cylinder around 400 Rs… All this becomes even more difficult once you have children or other family members to take care of. Math of misery…

…Wrath of Misery
Since about one and a half years around 2,000 copies of Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar get distributed each month in Gurgaon Udyog Vihar Phase 1, one of the various industrial areas in Gurgaon. Around 300 factories are based there. Here are some impressions from a morning of distributing the paper:
“Between 7 am and 9 am a constant stream of workers enter Udyog Vihar Phase 1, it is difficult to guess how many: may be 50,000, may be 100,000. Three people are not enough to distribute the newspaper. Although we stand passively at the road side, not offering the newspaper, merely showing it, the 2,000 copies are gone within less than an hour. A friend does not distribute the paper, he writes down what workers tell about their jobs. There is always a huge crowd of people around him, 20 – 30 people, many want to talk about their experiences. Most of them are very vocal, they talk about their personal conditions, but they soon talk about the conditions in general. One workers was sacked after a day of illness. Another one was beaten up after demanding to return his work documents. Many of them say: this social condition cannot go on any longer – everyone knows that everyone else is at their limit, both of their physical capacity and their patience. You can see and hear both, the enormous despair and anger – and a reflection of the social situation: how can we change this society? People recognize the friends from Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar, they ask them when they will come next time. They arrive with letters about their conditions and they want to see them printed. They come and ask for practical advice, often about legal matters. The three – four friends try to give some direct help, tell people to write an anonymous complain to the labour office or to meet a supportive legal advisor – but the acting is left to the workers themselves. We leave Udyog Vihar this morning with the certainty that there is social unrest in the making, and we wonder what will happen after the explosion, will it be an outburst of pent up violence, will there be a new form of collectivity within? The fact that people are keen talk about their situation to others gives hope”. Please get in touch if you want to give a hand, mind and heart for helping with the distribution.

*** Long list of short workers’ reports

About wage and working conditions in Gurgaon factories. The reports are gathered/spread during the monthly distribution of ‘Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar’ (Faridabad Workers’ News). The reports were given between November 2008 and March 2009. We can see an impact of the economic slump, particularly in the automotive manufacturing sector, where shift hours have been reduced (see Logwell Forging and Mag Filter reports)

Alankar Creation Worker
(December 2008)
About 1,000 workers in the factory, situated on plot 410 in Udyog Vihar Phase 3 are forced to stay for over-time. Since season-time started the factory is locked at night and workers are not allowed to leave. You have to work 36 hours on stretch. They abuse you verbally and 25 to 30 hours worth of wage are cut forcefully each month.

http://www.alankarcreations.com/

Anand Nishikawa Worker
(November 2008)
In the factory, situated on plot 119 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1, more than 300 workers are employed – all hired through one single contractor. The minimum wage is paid and ESI and PF is given. There are two 12-hours shifts, but the over-time is paid at single, instead of double rate. It is rubber parts production for Maruti Suzuki. Each month one or two fingers get cut. The company does not fill in the accident report and sends the worker for treatment to the private Sethi hospital. A worker who got his hand cut did not get any compensation. Only in the mixing department workers get gur (sugar molasses). The wages are always delayed – the October wage was paid on 24th of November.
(March 2009)
The company itself employs seven workers, 500 of us are hired through a contractor. We have worked in the factory for 12 months non-stop, but the documents say that we worked only ten. They do this since years. They don’t give you an attendance card, they just give you a number which they change every three months. They cut money for ESI and PF, but you won’t get neither. The helpers wage was 3,510 Rs till January, now it is 3,665 Rs.

http://www.anco.anbros.com/

Bharat International Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 189 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. The company manufactures leather jackets. The documents of the skilled workers amongst the 300 workers hired through contractors show a wage of 14,000 to 15,000 Rs, actually workers are paid a daily wage 140 to 160 Rs. The work load is oppressing – 5 piece in 2 hours would be more than enough, but the target is 14 piece. Overtime is paid at single rate.

http://www.indianapparelonline.com/

Campari Export Worker
(February 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 517 in Udyog Vihar Phase 3. The shift times are from 9 am till 11 pm. Sometimes people have to stay till 4 am or 6 am. Around 150 to 175 hours over-time per month, paid at single rate. If you get ill from being overworked and you cannot turn up they will sack you. Eight workers who have been dismissed and not been paid their January wages were threatened – the company called the police. We have not seen the over-time payment of December and January yet, today is the 18th of February. Helpers are paid 90 Rs for an eight hours shift. Out of the 200 workers employed in the factory only 10 get ESI and PF.

Chintu Fashion Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is situated on plot 295 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. The helpers get neither ESI nor PF. The factory has been shifted from Delhi to Gurgaon two years ago, but the ESI card has not been given. A worker has been given a penalty of 500 Rs for consuming tobacco, he has been verbally abused and hit and was made walking around with a sign around his neck.
(January 2009)
From the wages of the helpers 300 Rs is cut, allegedly for ESI and PF. When you arrive late at the factory they give you the sack – you won’t be paid your outstanding wages.

Condor Worker
(November 2008)
The factory is situated on plot 792 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5. The monthly wage of the helpers is 2,500 the skilled workers get 3,500 Rs. Amongst 100 workers only 10 to 12 have ESI or PF. There is a lot of overtime, about 250 to 300 hours, paid at single rate. The managers verbally abuse workers.

Dhir International Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is based on plot 299 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. 500 workers are hired through three different contractors, the skilled tailors are paid piece rate, the helpers are paid 2,200 Rs, neither ESI nor PF is given. Currently workers employed through contractors work from 9 am till next day 4 am. There is no day off. If you take one day off, they will cut two days from your wage. If you refuse to stay for over-time they will abuse you, sometimes even hit you. The over-time is paid at single rate. If a helper would get 2,000 Rs based on single rate for over-time, the actual payment will be 1,500. 500 Rs are embezzled.
(January 2009)
Workers have not been paid their December wages by 22th of January. The factory produces for GAP.
(March 2009)
The helpers hired through contractors haven’t received their February wages of 2,500 Rs yet, today is the 28th of March. Helpers and workers in the finishing department are forced to stay at work from 9 am till 4 or 6 am. If you ask for the outstanding wages they made take away your gate pass or hit you.

Eastern Medikit Worker
(December/January 2008)
In the six factories in Udyog Vihar the casual workers have been paid their October wages as late as 25th of November, the overtime pay of October has not been paid as of 29th of November. We work on two 12-hours shifts. The casual workers are given bad canteen food during night-shifts. December wages have not paid to the 500 casual staff on 22nd of January.
(February 2009)
The 100 permanent workers in the factory on plot 292 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2 work on three 8-hours shift, the 250 casual workers on two 12-hours shifts. The over-time is paid at even less than single rate, 12 Rs per hour. The over-time of December and January has not been paid yet, on 18th of February. The work pressure is enormously high. In the STL department the 12-hour target is 20,000 blood bags. If you don’t meet the target you have to stay longer: 13-14-15 hours.
http://www.medikit.com

Evergreen International Worker
(November 2008)
In the factory situated on plot 756 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5 the 30 helpers hired through contractor get 2,500 Rs per month, the skilled workers 3,000 Rs. There is neither ESI nor PF. There are 100 hours monthly overtime, but they are paid at single rate. The October wages have just been paid on 20th of November.

Femme High-Fashion Garments Worker
(January 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 488 in Udyog Vihar Phase 3. The workers work on two 12 hours shifts, over-time is paid at single rate.

Gaurav International Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is situated on plot 208 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. Workers are made to work from 9 am till 11:45 pm or 0:45 am. You are forced to do over-time – if you refuse you are sacked. Only the first two hours over-time are paid at double rate. Workers who work 15 hours on stretch are neither given tea nor money for getting food. There is verbal abuse. The other factory, plot 236 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1, employs 500 workers. Over-time used to be paid at double rate, now only the first two hours. To clients like GAP the company shows that all hours are paid double rate as per law. The doors and windows of the toilets are broken, at night there is no water.
(January 2009)
The general manager keeps the company cards of workers and forces them to stay longer for over-time.
http://www.tradekey.com/profile_view/uid/66647/GAURAV-INTERNATIONAL.htm

GOM Worker
(February 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 356 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. The 30 workers hired through contractor get 2,800 Rs, neither ESI nor PF. Working-times are from 9 am till 8 pm, five or six times per month you have to stay till 1 am. January wages have not been paid yet, today is the 18th of February.

Grafti Export Worker
(November 2008)
The workers employed in the factory situated on plot 377 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2 are not given any gate passes – due to which workers are hassled by the police on the street when they leave the factory at 2 o’clock in the night. The company calls the time between 9:30 am and 8 pm “duty time”, the time after that is declared as overtime. The monthly wage for a helper, based on a 10.5 hours day is 3,586 Rs. On top of the 10.5 hours there is a monthly overtime of 150 to 175 hours. For a single hour “overtime” the company pays 16 RS. About 300 skilled workers in production and finishing department get ESI and PF, amongst the tread cutters none of the workers get ESI or PF.

Gulati Export Worker
(February 2009)
The big factory is in Sarol Gaon, Sector 18. The 400 women workers who cut threads are paid 2,400 Rs per month, they don’t get ESI or PF. The wages of November, December and January have not been paid yet, on 18th of February. The workers are employed by various contractors. The shift-time are from 9 am till 9:30 pm, the male workers are made to stay till 1 or 2 am. If they have taken on lots of work they call you to start at 8 am and also the women workers have to stay till 1 am – a car brings them back to their homes. The wage of the male helpers is between 2,400 and 2,800 Rs.

Instyle Worker
(February 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 378 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. Normal working-time is a 12-hours shift, but workers are made to work 16 hours since the company took on a new order. They don’t care about the rouble of the workers. Sometimes the foremen (incharges) follow the workers in to the toilets, swearing at them.

Krishna Label Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 162 in Udog Vihar Phase 1. The ‘normal’ working times of the 2,000 workers are 9 hours – the company pays the minimum wage of 3,510 Rs, but this wage should be based on an 8 hours day. Over-time is paid at single instead of double rate. No ESI or PF.

http://company.indiatradepage.com/29282/KRISHNA_LABELS_PVTLTD/

Lara Export
(January 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 155 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. 400 workers start working at 8:30 am and 20 days during the months they work till 2 am in the morning. The helpers hired through contractors in the finishing department get 2,500 Rs, neither ESI nor PF.

Logwell Worker
(December 2008)
The factory, situated on plot 116 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1, ran on two 12-hour shifts for the last 10 to 15 years, non-stop. But since 20th of November the day shift was reduced to 8 hours and the night-shift to 10 hours. The two hours over-time at night are not paid: instead the Saturday to Sunday night-shift is scrapped (the two hours should be paid double-rate, so the lost shift is a bad deal for the workers). The outstanding payment of 54 hours over-time accumulated till 20th of November was first promised for 12th of December, then for 15th of December, now on 23rd of December the management told us that we should give up hope of seeing this money at all. From 25th of December till 1st of January the factory is closed completely.
(March 2009)
Since February the factory runs on two 12-hours shifts again.

Mag Filter Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is situated on plot 88 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. The moulding department runs two 12-hours shifts, the other departments run a 12-hours day-shift, but one or two days per week the workers have to stay throughout the whole night. There are 110 to 120 hours over-time each month, they are paid at single rate. The factory manufactures parts for Maruti Suzuki. Today, on 22nd of December the shifts in the moulding departments were reduced to 8 hours. The helpers are paid a wage of 3,000 Rs. The drinking water in the factory is dirty, so are the toilets.

http://magfiltersindia.com/

Mass Enterprise Worker
(February 2009)
In the factory situated on plot 370 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2 about 1,000 workers work from 9:30 am till 11 pm, sometimes till 2 am, sometimes till 6 am. There is no weekly day off. The over-time is paid at single rate. The 150 helpers hired through contractors (out of which 60 women who cut threads) are paid 2,200 Rs per month, they get neither ESI nor PF. Monthly about 10 to 20 hours of over-time ‘disappear’ from the wage. From the tailors wage 500 Rs is cut, saying it is for ESI and PF – if you are sacked after three month of employment they would still not give you an ESI card or the PF money. From the skilled workers’ wage two or three days worth of wages ‘disappear’.

Modelama Worker
(December 2008)
In the factory, plot 105-106 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1, 150 tailors were employed on hourly wage basis. Today, on 23rd of December the company sacked 100 of them. Recently the company has hired 3,000 people – tailor, pressmen, all on piece rate. The shift times are from 9 am till 8:30 or 10 pm. One contractor hired 200 workers, none of them get ESI or PF. The thread cutting women workers get 2,300 to 2,400 Rs per month. The factory produces a lot of textile goods for GAP and Old Navy. In the other Modelama factory on plot 200 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1 four contractors hired 200 tailors, all on piece rate. Every month workers do about 100 hours over-time, out of which the contractor cuts 40 hours for himself. The November wages have not been paid yet, today is the 23rd of December. The factory makes a lot of stuff for GAP, Runner, Home Finishing and other brands. The company has not paid the Dearness Allowance of January 2008 and July 2008 to the helpers yet. The latrines in the factory are dirty.
(February 2009)
The current working-times are from 9:30 am till 2 am. You accumulate about 150 hours of over-time, out of which only 50 are paid at double rate. Some work, which had been commissioned by a supervisor has been declared faulty by some ‘incharge’… as a result of which 15 workers have been sacked. In the sampling department there used to be 300 workers, now 50 of us are left. Those who are sacked are waiting and asking for their outstanding wages for two months – when you ask for money they won’t let you inside the factory and if you phone and ask for money they will say that the computer is defunct. They also won’t give you gratuity bonus, they say that it goes into a life insurance and that you will get the money later.
(March 2009)
In plant 5, Sector 4 in IMT Manesar 150 workers work on CNC embroidery machines on two 12-hours shifts. They sack you when you want to go back to your home town. By 28th of March Modelama has not paid 125 hours of over-time for December and 17 days worth of wage plus 65 hours over-time for January. If you go to the factory they won’t let you in, they say that there won’t be any payment and they chase you away. Half of the workers inside don’t have ESI or PF.

Mod Syrup Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 558 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5, shift-times are from 9 am till 7:30 pm. Over-time is paid at single rate, neither ESI nor PF, although money is cut form workers’ wages.

Modern Lace Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is situated on plot 231 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. The thread cutters get 2,500 to 2,600 Rs per month, no ESI, no PF, overtime is paid at single rate.

MY fashion Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 488 in Udyog Vihar Phase 3. The 3,000 workers employed in the factory work from 9 am till 9 pm, on 20 days of the month till 2 am. The 200 hours of over-time are paid at less than single rate, 12 Rs per hour. Money is cut for ESI and PF, but neither is given to the employees. There are 800 workers hired through contractors in the finishing department – sometimes people are sacked after two or three days.

Omega Design Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 863 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5. There are 300 workers hired through contractor. The company does not employ a single worker itself. We have to pay for ESI and PF, but we are neither given an ESI card nor the PF money.

http://www.trademart.in/OmegaDesignsGurgaon.htm

Orient Clothing Worker
(November 2008)
The company runs factories in Khandsa, Sector 37, on plot number 294, 296, 298, 299, 436 and 437. In the factory on plot number 296 the helpers hired through contractors work from 9 am till 10 pm, so the contractor pays the monthly minimum wage of 3,510 Rs, but for 13 instead of 8 daily working hours. The people from the management take commission. The contractor also does not pay the correct wages to the skilled tailors, but if you complain, the bosses will threat you in return. The wages are always paid delayed, sometimes on the 15th, sometimes on the 20th of the month. The outstanding dearness allowance of January to June 2008 is not paid and forged signatures are used to prepare the files. When you are sacked it will take you two to three months in order to get your outstanding wages. Someone came for inspection once, but on that day all workers without a company card were sent on holiday. There is a lot of verbal abuse going on in the factory.

Pearl Global Worker
(November 2008)
The company has stopped production in it’s factories, situated on plot 138 and 222 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1 and plot 870 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5. The production keeps on running in the factories in Narsinghpur, Khandsa and in the plants on plot 446 and 592 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5. All guards in Pearl Global factories are employed by the company itself. The security guards work on two 12-hour shifts, but in the company documents it says 8 hours – the overtime is not paid. The production workers get the first two hours overtime paid at double rate, after that single rate.
(January 2009)
The workers hired through contractors working in the Pearl Global factory on plot 446 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5 are only issued a working hour card after ten to fifteen days. If they quit the job or are sacked before that they won’t see their outstanding wages.

Premium Moulding and Pressing Worker
(January and February 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 185 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. The factory runs every day, but Sunday work is not seen as over-time. One shift starts at 8 am and finishes 6:30 pm, the other runs from 11 pm till 7 am. Over-time is paid with only 6.5 Rs per hour. Out of 300 workers only 100 get ESI and PF. A supervisor said that workers won’t be able to do anything about it, given that the managing director Gurpal Singh is a friend of the prime minister. The personnel manager threatens people who would inform the health and safety authority would be sacked. The latrines in the factory are dirty, some don’t have doors, others no catch.

http://www.alibaba.com/member/pmpsteeringwheels/aboutus.html

Radnik Export Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 294 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. Work starts at 9 am and finishes at 2 am. They give you 18 Rs for food. Every month 2 – 3 days are marked as unattended – a worker who has been at work every day was paid only 18 days. The company said that the computer was broken down and that the money will be paid, actually they did not. Neither ESI nor PF, although money is cut from wages for it.

http://www.radnik.org/

Rangi International
(November 2008)
The thread cutters in the factory, situated on ploy 98 Udyog Vihar Phase 1, get 2,400 Rs per month.` There is neither PF nor ESI. Even if they have the wages, they would not pay them: after a lot of demanding you get 100 to 200 Rs for your expenses. After September and October wages have not been paid on 27th of November, us 35 men and women in the thread cutting department took a day off on 28th of November. Today on 29th of November there is a board at the factory gate saying: “Thread Cutters Wanted”.

Richa and Company Worker
(December 2008)
The factory is on plot 193 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. Working times are from 9 am till 10 pm. There is no weekly day off. If you take a day off, you are fired. There are 150 hours over-time per month. The managers in charge abuse you verbally.

Richa Global Worker
(November 2008)
In the factory, plot 232 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1, those workers who have been transferred from the company factories in Kirtinagar and Delhi are pressured to quit the job. This year in March workers have been sent from Delhi to Gurgaon, the company does not provide transport facilities to these workers, neither did they get a wage increase to cover the additional costs. In result some of the workers from Delhi filed a complaint at the labour department and refused the transfer to Gurgaon. The complaint is still pending. Out of the permanent workers only 13 accepted to shift to Gurgaon. The management put pressure on them and made 10 of them signing their notice letters, while two women workers and one male worker keep on refusing to leave the job. These workers have to bear trouble like being denied access to the factory without being given notice. The management isolates them from the other workers, they are asked to achieve a higher production target, the management abuses them verbally.
(February 2009)
Recently a worker has fallen from the factory roof and died.

Ridhima Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on ploy 662 in Udyog Vihar Phase 5. The working-times are from 9 am till 8:30 pm, but we are forced to stay till 1 am. There are 200 workers employed, but no ESI, PF or attendance card. If you are sacked you have trouble to get your money. 20 days worth of wages are still outstanding, they always give me new dates, now they say that it will be paid on 31st of march 2009.

Rolex Auto Worker
(November 2008)
In the factory, plot 303 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2, since August 2008 ESI and PF is being issued and the helpers’ wage was supposed to be increased from 2,400 Rs to 3,586 Rs. But, may be due to the burocratic procedures, we haven’t received our August wages yet. So far we have received only 2,000 Rs advances.

S&R Export Worker
(November 2008)
In the factory – plot 298 in Udyog Vihar Phase2 – it says on a board that the working times are from 9 am to 6 pm, actually people have to stay till 8 pm. You get one hour break for taking your meals. You get the minimum wage based on the 11 instead of 8 daily working hours. Instead from the first working day ESI and PF only come into effect after three months of employment. After leaving the job the workers won’t get PF money. In the factory parts for Shisho are packaged. For the 500 workers who produce the steel stands there is only one tap for drinking water. After official end of shift you are forced to stay half an hour longer. There’s a lot of verbal abuse going on.
(January 2009)
Since January the 30 minutes meal break and the 15 minutes tea break have been scrapped. During work-times they give you two breaks for going to the toilet, if you have to go more often they treat you badly. When the representatives of the clients are about to visit the factory the managers give us lessons in how to lie to them.
(February 2009)
The management closes the main gate in order to make people stay till 10 pm. Instead of giving an ill worker a day of the general manager told the supervisor to make him “work fast like a lightning”. On some days they switch off the punch machine for the hour-cards, so that two days per month are shown as days off. A personnel manager did not like this practice, but he was removed from his job.

Sargam Export Worker
(February 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 152 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. The minimum wage is paid in the factory and over-time is paid at double rate. There is a lot of verbal abuse from the supervisors and ‘incharges’.
(March 2009)
Another factory is situated on plot 210 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. Working-times are from 9 am till 2 am. Over-time is paid at double rate.

http://www.sargamexports.com/

Shahi Export Worker
(January 2009)
The factory is situated in IP-1, Sector 28 and manufactures garments for GAP, Old Navy, Target, Spirit and Hugo Boss. When representatives of the clients come to the factory the management hands out gloves, masks and badges saying “trained in first aid”. The management hides the chemicals, the devices to remove stains, they also hide the register of worked hours and tell us to say that there is no over-time worked in the factory: this is when even the permanent workers are frequently made to work 24 hours shifts and people accumulate up to 250 hours of over-time per month. The production targets are always too high – in order to achieve it you won’t find time to drink tea or go to the toilet. In order to be able to go to the loo you have to get a token – there is one token for 150 workers. You have to swap your gate pass for this token – if you don’t do this they will not let you enter the factory for two days. In order to meet the target they let you stay two hours longer, but won’t pay this over-time. They won’t give you a day off even when your health is bad and for small things they make you to ask for forgiveness in written form – some workers start to cry. From all this work we get ill.

http://www.123eng.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=10050

Spark Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 166 in Udyog Vihar Phase 1. Out of 1,000 workers may be 2 or 3 get ESI and PF. Work starts at 9 am and finishes at 2 am, sometimes at 5 am. 200 Rs is cut from the over-time each month, if you complain, they abuse you verbally.

Viva Global Worker
(November 2008)
The company situated on plot 413 in Udyog Vihar Phase 3 didn’t pay the obligatory bonus for Diwali (Indian bank holiday). When asked for it the management said that the company is at loss. Nevertheless, even if the company is at loss they have to pay one monthly wage worth of bonus, as per law. They also did not give a box of sweets for Diwali – the boss said that the mother of the companies’ chairman had died. In the factory shift starts at 9:30 in the morning and ends at 9 or 10 in the night. During this time they don’t give you time for drinking tea. They don’t give you money for buying food. The boss had made it his law to take 100,000 to 150,000 of wages, he also ordered to come at 8:30 am instead of 9:30 am. The contractor takes a commission of the skilled tailors wages. If there is a lot of work the boss subcontracts work to workers on commission basis who are then termed “fabricators”, if there is less work he sacks them without paying them PF money. When inspectors come to the factory those workers without a company card are told to leave the factory with the promise that they will be paid for the day, actually the day’s wage is later on cut from the monthly payment.

http://www.vivaglobal.com/customers.html

Winter Wear Worker
(March 2009)
The factory is situated on plot 352 in Udyog Vihar Phase 2. There are 20 male and 10 female workers hired through contractor, cutting threads and checking the garments. Our monthly wage is 2,600 Rs. No ESI, no PF, over-time paid at single rate. In February the contractor made a runner and we were laid off. The wages for the 13 days worked in February we demand from the company, but they refuse to pay.

2) Collective Action -
Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** Tecumseh Workers’ Report -

About re-structuring process and workers’ resistance at Tecumseh compressor manufacturing factory, formerly belonging to the multi-national Whirlpool.

The factory, situated at 38 milestone on Mathura Road manufactures compressors for refrigerators. Whirlpool took the factory over from Calvinator, and after sacking 2,500 workers in 1997 passed the compressor department on to Tekumseh. When there was still the other production plant in Industrial Area there were altogether 1,420 permanent workers. In 2000, after a lock-out and receiving permission from the government to shut down a certain department, the company sacked 500 permanent workers and shifted the whole production to the current location. 50 workers refused to sign the so-called “Voluntary Retirement Scheme”, they were sent off to a company factory in Hyderabad. Then in 2004 another VRS was issued and 280 workers out of 900 were made redundant. Now there is yet another VRS running! On 1st of November the company put up a notice saying that if at least 150 workers would hand in their notice by 15th of November then a VRS would be put into effect. During this year the company had closed the lamination department, the wire winding department, the tool room… When management started to remove machines from the factory, the workers stopped them. After having come to an agreement with the labour department that “no job would be lost” the union told the workers to let the machines go. Between management and union existed a long-running deal. Over-qualified workers were put at the assembly line to put on / take off parts, they were constantly shifted from one place to the other. When off-season started all casual workers were sacked. And two months later VRS… During the first week the management did not put any pressure on workers. The number of workers who actually showed willingness to hand in their notice was very little. On 10th of November a flock of lawyers armed with a register entered the production department, names were mentioned and it was said that no worker aged over 50 would remain in the factory. When the bosses could not see any impact on 13th of November they started to threaten people. Hand in your notice, otherwise you will be shifted to Chennai, Hyderabad, Silvasa, Sileeguri or be suspended. On 15th of November the bosses stayed inside the factory till 9 pm: “Till 15th of November you can chose, after that you are at will of the company – everything is possible after that”. Despite all that the company did not manage to come anywhere close to the minimum of required notice letters. The bosses then extended their “offer” to the 17th of November, 10 am and left… After Tecmuseh took over the factory the number of permanent workers were reduced to a third and production numbers has increased four-fold. The situation regarding VRS in the Hyderabad factory is even worse for the company – by 14th of November only 9 workers had filled in the application for voluntary retirement.

3) According to Plan -
General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

*** Real Estate of Crisis in Gurgaon -

Real Estate companies like DLF and Unitech – the main makers of neoliberal model-town Gurgaon – are hit hard by the crisis. After 2005 money became easily available, when the government allowed foreign direct investment in real estate. In 2007, when the stock market was booming, many developers raised money from the ‘public’. DLF Ltd, the country’s largest developer, raised about $2 billion in June 2007 in what was then the largest-ever initial public offering in the country. By mid-2008 the party was over, real estate prices in Gurgaon fell by up to 40 per cent and real estate profit dropped. DLF reported a record 93 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit. Net income fell to 1.59 billion Rs (32 million USD) in the three months ended 31st of March 2009, from 21.8 billion Rs a year earlier. In March 2009 DLF announced a net debt of 13,000 crore Rs.

This situation results in companies cancelling ongoing construction projects. Unitech abandoned IT-SEZ in the Delhi industrial fringe, DLF has suspended construction work of a Mega-Mall in Gurgaon and of an IT-park in Mihan SEZ. “With workers withdrawn, a frame of steel bars and some concrete pillars are all that is seen on the vast area allotted to DLF India. A skeletal staff remains at the site office”. In March DLF announced that it will approach India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) to seek lower cost funds for the 742 crore Rs project of building 6.1 km of metro rail tracks in Gurgaon and Faridabad. DLF also has to struggle with irate upper-middle class buyers of flats in The New Tower Heights apartment block, given delays in construction and financial quarrels about re-funding – thin air in high towers nowadays.

Next issue: Young architects report about the future material collapse of Gurgaon real estate, given its weak foundations. Sandy soil, rapidly dropping ground water levels and proximity to earthquake-prone areas doesn’t allow high-rise building – which real estate companies consciously ignore.

*** Security Fears -

Public-Private Re-armament in Gurgaon. Encircled by mass poverty and attacked in their Taj Hotels the paranoia of the upper class increases. Security is a booming business – both on private and state level. In Gurgaon there are thousands of security guards ‘protecting’ private and corporate property. Gurgaon authorities launch the set-up of thousand of CCTV cameras, all internet café owners have to install a camera and officially they have to ask for proof of address of the customer. DLF, after neo-liberal town-making, now ventures into setting up a private police force. A short excerpt from the New York Times, 2nd of March 2009 about the matter:

“DLF-Terra Force sets up Security Guard Training Camp in Gurgaon – Security guards have long been a sleepy presence here, but a string of fatal attacks, culminating in the siege of three Mumbai hotels by terrorists last November, have created a demand for new and better trained guards, state-of-the-art equipment and guns for the guards and businessmen themselves. Capsi, an industry trade group, estimates that India’s $2 billion private security sector will add a million employees this year, even as other industries lay off workers while the economy cools. Already, it employs about 5 million people, 1.3 million more than India’s police and armed forces combined. Many guards were farm workers in small villages just a month ago. Through job fairs and local offices in rural states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab, companies sign on thousands of young men at a time, put them through training camps, then send them into urban centers. Some companies, like the real estate giant have started their own private security forces. Terra Force will patrol DLF’s thousands of Indian properties. Terra Force uses bomb-sniffing dogs, night-vision goggles and I.B.M. surveillance systems and is importing instructors from the Israeli army and the United States Marine Corps. Still, much of the business revolves around training fresh recruits from rural areas of India in camps like one on the outskirts of Gurgaon, a slapdash boomtown city south of New Delhi. On a recent visit to the camp, located where Gurgaon’s glass towers and malls peter out to low-slung buildings and open lots, a batch of young men in creased navy trousers stood at attention. Their superior barked an order and they saluted and yelled in unison “Good morning, sir” again and again”.

A security guard from ABS Security in Gurgaon told friends from Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar that he works 12-hour night-shifts without days off since months now. Another security guard employed by Unique Security gets neither medical insurance cards nor PF. He is paid about 10 Rs per hour, that’s around 16 cents. The state cannot rely on the dutifulness of low paid 12-hour-shift-tired proletarian security force. Adding to the various army bases around Gurgaon the Indian army announced in February 2009 to set up a Military Academy in Gurgaon:

“India will soon have a dedicated defence university on the patterns of the West Point Military Academy in the United States, a senior Indian Defense Ministry official told the The Hindu. The university would conduct post graduate courses for officers serving in the defence, paramilitary forces and civil services”.

Next issue: Struggle of former Group4 security workers at Delhi Airport.

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** Glossary -

Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

AITUC
BPO
CITU
Casual Workers
Contract Workers
Crore
DA
DC
ESI
Exchange Rate
HSIIDC
ITI
Jhuggi
Lakh (see Crore)
Lay off
Minimum Wage
Panchayat
PF
Ration Card
SP
Staff
Trainees
VRS
Wages and Prices
Workers hired through contractors

AITUC
The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is the oldest trade union federation in India and one of the five largest. It was founded in 1919 and until 1945, when unions became organised along party lines, it was the central trade union organisation in India. Since then it has been affiliated with the Communist Party of India.

BPO
Business Process Outsourcing: for example of call centre work, market research, sales.

CITU
Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a national central trade union federation in India. Politically attached to CPI(M), Communist Party of India (Marxist). Founded in 1970, membership of 2.8 million.

Casual Workers
Workers hired by the company for a limited period of time.

Contract Workers
Workers hired for a specific performance, paid for the performance.

Crore
1 Crore = 10,000,000
1 Lakh = 100,000

DA (Dearness Allowance):
An inflation compensation. Each three to six months the state government checks the general price development and accordingly pays an allowance on top of wages.

DC
Deputy Commissioner, Head of the District Administration.

ESI (Employee’s State Insurance):
Introduced in 1948, meant to secure employee in case of illness, long-term sickness, industrial accidents and to provide medical facilities (ESI Hospitals) to insured people. Officially the law is applicable to factories employing 10 or more people. Employers have to contribute 4.75 percent of the wage paid to the worker, the employee 1.75 percent of their wage. Officially casual workers or workers hired through contractors who work in the factory (even if it is for construction, maintenance or cleaning work on the premises) are entitled to ESI, as well. Self-employment is often used to undermine ESI payment.

Exchange Rate:
1 US-Dollar = 43 Rs (July 2008)
1 Euro = 68 Rs (July 2008)

HSIIDC
Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation

ITI
Industrial training, e.g. as electrician or mechanic. Two years of (technical school), one year of apprentice-ship in a company. During the two years at school the young workers receive no money, but they have to pay school fees. A lot of the bigger companies ask for ITI qualification.

Jhuggi
Slum Hut

Lakh
see Crore

Lay off
Lay off in the Indian context means that workers have to mark attendance, but they actually do not work and receive only half of the wage.

Minimum Wage:
Official minimum wage in Haryana in June 2007 is 3,510 Rs per month for an unskilled worker, based on an 8-hour day and 4 days off per month. But hardly any workers get this wage.

Panchayat
A locally elected village administrative body in charge of village-level issues.

PF (Employee’s Provident Fund):
Introduced in 1952, meant to provide a pension to workers. Officially applicable to all companies employing more than 20 people. Official retirement age is 58 years. Given that most of the casual workers belong to the regular workforce of a factory, they are entitled to the Provident Fund, as well. So are workers employed by contractors. If workers receive neither PF nor ESI they also do not show up in the official documents, meaning that officially they do not exist.

Ration Card
Officially the so called ‘governmental fair price shops’ are shops were ‘officially poor’ people can buy basic items (wheat, rice, kerosene etc.) for fixed and allegedly lower prices. In order to be able to buy in the shops you need a ration card. The ration card is also necessary as a proof of residency, but in order to obtain the ration card you have to proof your residency. Catch 22. Local politics use the ration depots and cards as a power tool that reaches far into the working class communities. Depot holders’ jobs are normally in the hands of local political leaders. In return they receive this privileged position, which often enable them to make money on the side.

SP
Superintendent of Police, Head of the District Police.

Staff
In India staff includes managers, supervisors, security personnel and white-collar workers.

Trainees
In general trainees work as normal production workers, they might have a six-month up to two-year contract. Depending on the company they are promised permanent employment after passing the trainee period. Their wages are often only slightly higher than those of workers hired through contractors.

VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme):
Often a rather involuntary scheme to get rid of permanent workers. Particularly the VRS at Maruti in Gurgaon made this clear, when 35 year olds were sent in early retirement.

Wages and Prices:
When we hear that a cleaner in a call centre in Gurgaon, an industrial worker in Faridabad or a rikshaw-driver in Delhi earns 2,000 Rs for a 70 hour week, which is about the average normal worker’s wage, we have to bear in mind that they often came from West Bengal, Bihar or other remote place in order to get this job. In order to put 2,000 Rs into a daily context here are some prices of goods and services:

Housing:
– Monthly rent for a plastic-tarpaulin hut shared by two people in Gurgaon: 800 Rs
– Monthly rent for a small room in Gurgaon (without kitchen), toilet and bathroom shared by five families: 1,300 Rs
– Monthly rent for a small room in a new building in central Gurgaon, single toilet and bathroom: 4,500 Rs to 8,000 Rs

Food:
– Half a kilo red lentils on the local market: 25 Rs
– Kilo rice on local market: 14 Rs
– 1 Kilo Onions and 1 Kilo carrots on local market: 25 to 30 Rs
– McChicken: 40 Rs
– Bottle (0,7l) of beer at Haryana Wine and Beer shop: 50 to 70 Rs
– Cigarettes (10), cheapest local brand: 25 Rs
– Starbucks Coffee (Latte Medium) in Shopping Mall: 59 Rs

Utensils:
– Faulty shirt on Faridabad local market: 40 Rs
– Single gas cooker plus new 2 litre gas cylinder: 720 Rs
– Re-fill gas (2 litres – once every month and a half): 100Rs
– Second-hand bicycle: 600 to 1,000 Rs
– Two simple steel pots: 250 Rs

Transport and Communication:
– Bus ticket to nearest bigger bus stop in South Delhi: 14 Rs
– Daily Newspaper: 3 Rs
– One hour internet in a cafe: 20 Rs
– Cinema (new) ticket Saturday night: 160 Rs
– Single entry for swimming pool: 100 Rs
– One litre Diesel: 30 Rs
– Driving license in Haryana: 2,000 to 2,500 Rs
– Start package pre-paid mobile phone (without the phone) 300 Rs
– Phone call to other mobile phones: 1 Rs
– One month mobile phone flat rate: 1,500 Rs

Luxuries:
– Minimum dowry poor workers have to pay for the marriage of their daughter: about 30,000 Rs (80,000 Rs more likely)
– Money given to poor labourers for their kidney: about 40,000 Rs
– Compaq Laptop: 50,000 Rs
– Flight Delhi to London: 28,000 Rs
– Cheapest Hero Honda motorbike (150 cc): around 40,000 Rs
– Ford Fiesta: 587,000 Rs
– Four hours on Gurgaon golf course: 800 Rs (info from golf course worker earning 2,400 Rs monthly)
– Two-Bedroom Apartment in Gurgaon: 10,000,000 to 50,000,000 Rs

Workers hired through contractors
Similar to temporary workers, meaning that they work (often for long periods) in one company but are officially employed by a contractor from whom they also receive their wages. Are supposed to be made permanent after 240 days of continuous employment in the company, according to the law. A lot of companies only have a licence for employing workers in auxiliary departments, such as canteen or cleaning. Companies usually find ways to get around these legal restrictions, e.g., workers services are terminated on the 239th day to avoid workers reaching eligibility criteria to become permanent. In many industries contract workers account for 60 to 80 per cent of the work force, their wage is 1/4 to 1/6 of the permanents’ wage.

2 Responses to “GurgaonWorkersNews no.9/17”

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