Mandkaula, Haryana – The Troubled Village Hinterland

GurgaonWorkersNews – Newsletter 30 (September 2010)

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 proletarianised 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 September 2010 issue you can find:

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

*** The isolated social work in the household -
Report by a working-class woman about her work in and around the house in the industrial area: caring for husband and children, earning money by doing outsourced embroidery work. The story has been published several years ago in the Hindi workers’ newspaper Faridabad Majdoor Samachar. We document it in the wider context of workers’ reports, looking at the hidden side of the factory world.

*** The Fractured Assembly of Automobile Workers -
The distribution of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar has recently been extended to the new industrial area of Manesar, near Gurgaon, an area dominated by the automobile industry. We document short reports from automobile workers, mainly within the fractured cooperation of parts manufacturing. Recent struggles like at Rico, Denso, AG Industries or VXL, workers have not been able to extend their disputes along the arteries of this vast territorial assembly line.

*** The physical attacks of (garment) production -
Some workers’ reports from mainly garment factories in Gurgaon and Manesar. The reports were collected during times of summer heat, rising inflation and extreme overtime, which saw a lots of workers collapsing under the pressure. The reports are accompanied by a recent and thorough article on increasing mechanisation and Taylorisation of this labour-intensive industry. We also document a short statement from multi-national companies GAP, Next and Marks and Spencer from 8th of August 2010 about ‘their concerns’ about the workers’ conditions in Gurgaon. We add an appeal for solidarity by Viva Global workers who manufacture for Marks and Spencer and who have been locked out and attacked by paid thugs on 21st and 23rd of August 2010.

*** The crisis and the global hunt for calls -
Gurgaon is one of the biggest call centre hubs of the globe, having been re-location destination for a lot of US call centre work. Now that the crisis hits the US wage level, calls might be re-routed back up to the global north. A short summary of a recent study and a short workers’ report about house-keeping work in an American Express call centre in Gurgaon.

*** Circle of Animal Lovers: a NGO worker reports -
A worker employed by a Delhi based NGO reports about how the ‘Circle of Animal Lovers’ in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) treats working humans and other species. The NGO is entrusted with sterilizing street dogs – a profitable enterprise particularly in times of the prestigious Common Wealth Games.

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

*** A Series of wildcat strikes of garment workers to enforce higher wages in Gurgaon and Delhi -
We document six short reports by garment workers about seemingly spontaneous strikes to enforce higher wages. The conflicts took place in April 2010. The strikes have two parallels, one in space, the other in time. The strikes correspond with the more violent and widespread mobilisations of garment workers in Bangladesh and they continue the series of previous strikes during the last official increase of the minimum wage. The combination of companies not passing on the wage hike and the current inflation forces workers to react. The workers manufacture, among others, for Marks and Spencer.

*** The Student-Worker? Short glimpse at current disputes at Delhi universities -
There are various attacks affecting students and workers on the campuses: fee hikes, introduction of a semester system, entry of international academic FDI in the sector, anti-Maoist witch-hunt. The exam pressure increases with the general pressure on the labour-market. In recent years suicides among students became epidemic. Some short reports about current disputes.

*** A Strike against the Games / Life and struggles of workers building the Common Wealth Games in Delhi -
Friends from the journal ‘Radicalnotes’ documented the living and working conditions of Common Wealth Games construction workers in Delhi. You can find their accounts and photographs on the site – click HERE
In mid-August some workers went on strike against unpaid wages, supported by Delhi radical student groups.

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

*** An Ideal Village and the social death of the peasantry / Report after visiting friends in Mandkaula, a village in Haryana -
Mandkaula, an one hour train ride south from of Faridabad, has been in the heart of Green Revolution in the 1960s and close enough for the rural proletariat to be drawn into the industrial development of Delhi’s industrial areas in the 1970s. Mandkaula is an ‘Ideal Village’, its last generation of peasants and artisans die a social death. A post-visit report and some general news about other unruly villages in Haryana.

*** Short note on real estate business and the private-public land-mafia in Gurgaon -
Gurgaon is still an Eldorado for the international real estate business. In August 2010 the Hooda Haryana government was put into a no less dubious public spot-light for getting engaged in shady land-deals in Gurgaon. Farm land was turned into cheap property to build an amusement park. We summarised some news items on the matter.

*** The Social Tsunami Impact / Snap-Shots against Capital-Class-Crisis -
This is an attempt to introduce a regular update on general tendencies of crisis development in India – motivated by Greek shock-waves, naked shorts and potential spill-overs. Apart from short glimpses on the macro-level of things we focus on general trends in agriculture and automobile sector: the current demise of the past and the toxicity of the future. This month: growing tension between financial and fiscal managers of capital about rising inflation and trade deficit; planned mass foreclosures against bankrupt farmers in Maharashtra; and increasing debts causing hick-ups in the automobile supply-chain.

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.

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

*** The isolated social work in the household -

The following story has been published several years ago in the Hindi workers’ newspaper Faridabad Majdoor Samachar. We document it in the wider context of workers’ reports, demonstrating the hidden side of the factory world. Recently a new documentary on ‘house-workers’ in Delhi has been published, click HERE for the announcement.

(FMS 2003)
I am not yet 35 years old. My husband and elder son both work. I look after the house and also earn some money from stitching and embroidery. Every day I get up at a.m. I have to go out for latrine in the open. It is dark. I fear pigs and dirty men. (Men sit and hide). It’s forced on us. I have to prepare for it. After coming back, I fill up water from the public tap. If it is not crowded, it takes twenty minutes, otherwise it takes an hour.

After bringing water, washing the dishes, cleaning the place then I cut the vegetables and grind the spices. I don’t use readymade spices. My husband works in Okhla now and he has to catch the 7:40 a.m. train. On one stove, I cook vegetables and on the other I make rotis (bread) after kneading the flour. Sometimes, on the kerosene stove, I have to heat up the water because my two kids have to get ready for school. After the vegetables are ready, I make tea. My husband has to leave home at 7:15 a.m. to catch the train. The children leave at 7:45. In the morning, they have breakfast of roti and vegetables and then drink tea. My husband also takes his rotis. The children come back at 1 p.m. and eat. After I’ve completed my work then if some tea is left, I drink that or I make another cup. I drink tea but I don’t feel like having breakfast. I heat up water and have a bath. Then I wash the dishes, broom the place, fold up the beds. I work very fast but still it is ten to 11 before it’s over and if some guests come in it takes more time. Then I take rest for an hour or two.

I again fill up water in the morning from the public tap. I have to collect water three times in a day. Then work for money. I stitch a pajama for ten rupees. An underwear for five. A petticoat for ten rupees. Contractors bring clothes from factories on which I do embroidery at piece rate. It is 4 to 5 p.m. By the time I bring milk and vegetables from the market, it is time to start preparing for dinner. Taking it all into consideration, it means that I cannot take care of my body. There is no time for myself.

My eldest son has night duty for 15 days in the month. Today he has night duty. He has to go at 8 p.m. from the house. I had prepared food by 7 because if he leaves immediately after a meal, then he’ll have a stomach. He eats one hour before and takes some rest. At this time, he is also ill. His duty is of 12 hours. From 8 p.m. till 8 a.m. tomorrow, the boy of 17 years old has to stand at a plastic-moulding machine for 12 hours every day. I feel a lot of pain. I wish he didn’t have to work but he is forced to. How can I have him sitting idle at home?

By 9:30 p.m., everyone is free and lies down for bed and watches T.V. Sometimes, I am not able to sleep the whole night because of worries. When I’ve fall ill, I worry about who will do my work as my son and husband go to work and my children go to school. If you take help from someone then one fears the false allegations by neighbors of having a ‘loose’ character. My daughter is getting older (she is 13) and I keep thinking about her. I have to carry so many burdens, yet have to still keep going. How can I go on? I have not even lived half of my life. My blood-pressure goes down very low and I have very bad thoughts. If I die, what will happen to my children? Now I don’t feel like meeting people whereas earlier I used to get-together a lot with people. Now my daughter has become a great support for me.

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I was married. And my husband and I stayed like two friends. Our children respect us. Again and again I try to convince myself that my children will support me. Like others’ children, my sons will not leave for their marriage. The fear of being left alone in old age…I cut down on meals to save some money so that at least their greed for money will make our children look after us in old age. When I get too tired then I become irritated and think why is this life being given to me? Death is better than this life.

*** The Fractured Assembly of Automobile Workers -

The distribution of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar has recently been extended to the new industrial area of Manesar, near Gurgaon, an area dominated by the automobile industry. We document short reports from automobile workers, mainly within the fractured cooperation of parts manufacturing. Recent struggles like at Rico, Denso, AG Industries or VXL, workers have not been able to extend their disputes along the arteries of this vast territorial assembly line.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Worker
(Plot 1 and 2, Sector 3, IMT Manesar)
There used to be joint buses for the 1,800 permanent and 5,500 workers hired through contractors – now they introduced separate bus transport. Both categories of workers used to use the same gate for entering and leaving the factory, now they introduced separate gates. Every worker used to have the right to 2 paid hours monthly for getting the gate pass, now this right has been reduced to the permanent workers – they say that there is too little admin staff, so they try to deprive the workers hired through of the gate pass. The management has recently increased the production target from 1,125 to 1,200 scooters. When workers met the new target the management distributed sweets – only to the permanents, not to the workers hired through contractors.

Munjal Showa Worker
(Sector III, IMT Manesar)
The factory runs on three shifts, manufacturing shocks and suspensions for Hero Honda, Honda, Yamaha. and for spare-part shops. There are only very few permanent workers. There are 500 casual ITI workers and 800 workers hired through four different contractors. They entice the casual workers by promising a permanent contract after five years – actually the workers are kept in a loop of ‘casual worker becoming trainee’ and ‘re-trainee becoming casual worker again’, no one gets a permanent contract. The workers hired through contractors are given enforced ‘breaks’ after six months of employment. The wages for the ITI worker is 4,500 Rs and for the workers hired through contractor 4,214 Rs. The wages are low… If you have to work in a standing position the whole time, then doing overtime means hell. We work 100 to 150 hours overtime, it is paid less than double rate, about 35 Rs per hour.

VG Industrial Worker
(Plot 26 F, Industrial Area, Faridabad)
We produce parts for export to Australia. In the plant only foremen, supervisor and managers are hired directly by the company, all workers are hired through contractors. The workers’ wages are 3,000 Rs, neither PF nor ESI. We work 12-hours shifts. On the obligatory weekly holiday we work 8 hours. Overtime is paid at single rate, wages are paid late. VG Industrial runs another factory on Plot 31 B in Industrial Area, a paint shop. The wages of the 25 workers hired through contractors is 3,000 Rs, neither ESI nor PF. In the GPS press-shop and the Model B press-shop they run two 12-hours shifts, day in, day out. The fixed production target is high, they pressure you a lot, the supervisor swears at you, there are accidents at the power-presses: in one year I have seen 10 workers cutting their hands. In the weld-shop and the packing department they make you work 4 hours extra, after a 12 hours shift. Every month 400 to 500 Rs get embezzled from your wages. The 300 Rs for DA in January 2010 was not paid yet (April 2010).

Haryana Industries Worker
(Plot 318, Udyog Vihar Phase II, Gurgaon)
In the factory about 2,500 to 3,000 workers produce parts for Maruti Suzuki. There is no day off. For 30 working days of 8 hours we get 3,500 Rs. Normal working-times are from 9 am till 8 pm, the second shift from 8:30 pm till 9 am. Overtime is paid single rate. On 22nd of April 2010 a worker cut off four of his fingers at a power-press. Workers don’t get ESI, if you cut your fingers, they make you pay for private treatment. The drinking water is bad, the toilets are normally locked – they open them only in the evening.

AG Industries
(Plot 8, Sector III, IMT)
The 100 permanent workers work on three 8-hours shifts, the 500 workers hired through four different contractors work on two 12-hours shifts. The factory runs 30 days a month. The factory manufactures fibre-side-covers for Hero Honda. The permanent workers get 7,000 to 10,000 Rs, the workers hired through contractors who run the moulding machines get 4,214 Rs. The permanent workers started to set-up a trade union, so the company sacked 5 and later on 13 permanent workers in January and February 2010. After back-and-forth workers laid down tools on 20th of March and gathered inside the factory premises. Permanent workers and workers hired through contractor stood side by side. The company called the police. They arrived in two buses, they first pushed workers out of the factory, then told them to keep a 200 meters distance to the company gate, and they attacked the workers with lathis in order to make themselves understood. One worker ended up with his hand broken, several others had bleeding heads. The police followed workers right into Sector V, beating them with lathis. Later on the police returned and smashed the window-pane of the companies’ security room and of their police car. On the very same 20th of March some workers turned up for the evening shift and started working – the management worked, too. On the next day, the 21st of March, two Hero Honda company buses from Gurgaon turned up, full with workers. They got paint-shop workers from Dharuhera and Gaziabad. New people were hired at the gate everyday… On the 26th of March, the union had a demonstration in Gurgaon. Over 10,000 people came, there was an assembly in Huda Park. They handed out food. But afterwards nothing. We kept on sitting 100 feet away from the company gate. Leaving their victimised 18 work-mates outside, the permanent workers decided to go back to work on 2nd and 3rd of April. The 500 workers hired through contractors pay for ESI and PF, but see neither card nor PF fund number.

VXL Worker
(20/3 Mathura Road, Faridabad)
The management had laid out a trap for yet another wave of redundancies. The number of permanent workers had already come down from 400 to 93, the management wanted to lay off another 46 employees. By instigating they created an atmosphere for a lock-out, which happened on the 6th of February 2010. Not surprisingly the management proclaimed that the workers were engaging in an illegal strike action. In order to move the demonstrating workers away from the factory gate the company cut the water supply on 2nd of April. During February, March and April both union and management had 15 to 20 separate meetings with the higher levels of labour commissioners, no joint meeting at all. The main outcome seemed to be that 7 workers would be sacked, 4 suspended and 41 transferred to other places, but the government official said that the company would not agree. After the 3rd of April even these type of meetings ceased… Therefore the union called for demonstrations on 20th of May to walk from the factory gate to Bata Chowk, on 21st of May to walk from the factory gate to Goodyear Chowk, on 24th of May to walk to the office of the labour commissioner. On 25th of May the labour official and labour inspector came to the workers and told them to stop the demonstrations, to stop causing public commotion and to talk again. On invitation from the management there were talks between company representatives and union leaders on 28th and 30th of May. Us workers still – today on 1st of June – don’t know what the outcome of these talks was. The company produces bomb-timers for the army and other electronic items. The management has replaced permanent workers with casuals and outsourced work to 50 suppliers.

Kiran Udyog Worker
(B-182, Okhla Phase I)
The 110 workers hired through three different contractors are paid 3,300 to 3,800 Rs. They get neither PF nor ESI. The 40 workers who are directly employed by the company get ESI and PF, but the helpers wage is below the minimum, they get 3,800 Rs, the operators get 4,300 to 4,800 Rs. You start working at 8:30 am and finish at 11 to 12 at night. There is a 12-hour night-shift, too. Overtime is paid at 12 to 16 Rs an hour, 100 to 200 Rs are embezzled each month. The factory produces parts for Honda and Denso in Noida. The drinking water is bad, there is only one toilet, people have to queue up. The bosses swear and sometimes hit workers. If you are 5 minutes late they cut one hour from your wages, but shift finishes 10 to 20 minutes late, which is not paid. Tea breaks are 5 instead of 15 minutes. There is a lot of pressure, lots of accidents – but workers have to pay for medical treatment themselves.

Micro Precision Worker
(Plot 96, Sector V, IMT)
They pay you the minimum wage, but instead of 8 hours they make you work 10.5 hours. We manufacture dies for Hero Honda, JBM, Neel Metal and other companies. There is also a lot of sheet-metal work, lots of workers get injured. The managing director swears a lot, sometimes he hits people. The shift runs from 8 am till 8 pm, sometimes you have to work till 1 am. Overtime is paid at single-rate.

Yamaha Motors Worker
(The factory is situated at Mathura Road, Faridabad)
The company hires young workers who have completed ITI as casual labourers. After seven and a half months of employment the companies sends workers on an enforced ‘break’. After that the company hands out ‘Vancancy’-leaflets and sends the former casual workers to a labour contractor. The former casual workers are now hired through contractor and work in the same department as before. The wages are the same, but the ESI and PF numbers have changed. After seven and a half months these workers are officially sacked by the contractor and re-hired as casual workers by Yamaha. Workers work since ten to twelve years in this ‘casual way’ at Yamaha. The work is permanent, the workers are non-permanent. The permanent workers get 25,000 Rs, doing the same work their casual/temp work-mates get 4,734 Rs. The helpers get 4,214 Rs and they have to pay a bribe for getting hired. Yamaha company only issues one T-Shirt for the casual workers, some of the contractors don’t even do that. There are three shifts, in the A-shift mainly permanents work, so in the C-shift mainly casuals are employed. The B-shift finishes at 2 am, that’s when the C-shift starts. There is a lot of trouble in these shifts – and once you are on C-shift you stay, shifts don’t change.

Oswal Electrics
(48-49 Industrial Area, Faridabad)
Around 1,200 workers are employed on 2×12 and 3×8-hours shifts, manufacturing parts for TVS Motorcycles and Orient Pankha. If they make you work double-shift, meaning 16-hours, they only give you 9 Rs extra-money for food – only few get 12 Rs. Overtime is paid at single rate. The machine operators are only paid the minimum wage for helpers.

Northern Tools and Gadgets Worker
(Plot 330, Sector-24, Faridabad)
Workers manufacture parts for Maruti Suzuki on 2×12-hour shifts. They force you to work overtime on Sundays – there is no day off, you work 30 days a month. The 90 casual workers are employed throughout the year, but they neither get ESI nor PF. Their March wage was 3,000 Rs. They said that wages would be increased to 3,500 Rs by April, but they paid only 3,000 Rs in April, too.

Super Age Worker
(Plot 109, Sector-6, Faridabad)
Workers work 150 to 200 hours overtime. Workers manufacture parts for two-wheelers of Yamaha, Bajaj, Hero Honda and parts for export to Dubai and Kuwait. Wages are paid with delay.

Pranav Vikas Worker
(45 – 46 Industrial Area, Faridabad)
The company employs 10 to 12 workers directly and 250 workers through 5 to 6 different contractors. They manufacture heating and cooling coils for Maruti Suzuki, Scorpio and Ambassador. Around 125 to 240 hours overtime, the permanents get double pay, the rest single. If you are forced to work 16 hours non-stop, they don’t even give you extra-money for food. The workers hired through contractors used to get two working uniforms per year, since three years there have been no uniforms at all. Money is cut for ESI and PF, but you will hardly get an ESI card and you have to pay 1,000 Rs bribe to the contractor in order to get the PF fund.

*** The physical limits of (garment) production -

The international market pressure between low-wage regions like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh or India translates directly into excessive work-load on the shop-floor. Below you can find some reports, published in May 2010 issue of Faridabad Mazdoor Samachar under the title “Make it through the day… or Living life”. The monthly minimum wage (April 2010) at the times for unskilled workers in Haryana: 4,214 Rs (6-days week, 8-hours day), Delhi 5272 Rs. On 20th of August 2010 the Haryana minimum wage was increased slightly to 4348.21 RS per month for unskilled workers.

In terms of general wage development we quote from the article on mechanisation:
‘His job in the sampling department (which creates the first few samples of every new design) of a large garment manufacturer and exporter fetches him Rs5,700 per month.”That’s a Rs1,700 increase in 10 years,” he says despondently, “while the price of atta has gone from Rs8 to Rs18.”‘
The following article on increasing mechanisation is a good summary of current conditions, but in its predictions it is ideologically tinted. Obviously the spokes-people of capital want to make themselves believe that potentially they are able to replace workers with machines. Nevertheless, the article hints at some important changes within the organisation of garment production, e.g. the expansion of ‘chain-systems’, a more minute division of labour, and the introduction of computer-controlled machines for certain work tasks like thread cutting or embroidery. Often these work-steps have been undertaken by ‘helpers’ and/or female workers.

These Garment Factories Don’t Need Tailors
Live Mint By Akshai Jain (June 2010)
As garment units in Gurgaon scale up into mass manufacturing centres, machines are doing the trickiest work, cutting out the craftsman. When Santosh Kumar Kaushal came to Delhi from Allahabad 20 years ago, he found a job easily. He was a competent tailor, having worked in a small tailoring workshop back home for nearly a decade. After a few years in similar units in the neighbourhood, he settled down in a “fabricator” workshop, a 30-person unit where tailors lived and worked, being paid according to the number of pieces they produced. Till 10 years ago, says Kaushal, he’d make Rs150 a day tailoring coats. “We worked to our own schedules,” he says wistfully, “the atmosphere was friendly and newcomers learnt on the job.” But time and the garment factories of Udyog Vihar in Gurgaon, where he now works, have been cruel to him. His job in the sampling department (which creates the first few samples of every new design) of a large garment manufacturer and exporter fetches him Rs5,700 per month. “That’s a Rs1,700 increase in 10 years,” he says despondently, “while the price of atta has gone from Rs8 to Rs18.”
Ironically, business is better than ever before in Udyog Vihar, one of the largest garment manufacturing hubs in the country. Exports of readymade garments, the mainstay of the manufacturing here, are again on the rise. In 2009-10, India exported garments worth $10.64 billion (Rs50,008 crore today). This year the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), a trade body, expects growth of 10-15%. The garment industries of the National Capital Region, spread across Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida, contribute more than 28% of India’s total exports; and of this the largest contribution is from the 2,500 manufacturing units of Udyog Vihar. These units, says Darlie Koshy, director general of AEPC, make higher-end “fashion” garments for companies such as Gap Inc., JCPenny Co. Inc., Ivy Co., etc. Among them they employ around 200,000 workers, and are always on the lookout for more.
A skilled tailor such as Kaushal should not find it difficult to get another job. But a series of changes in the manufacturing process over the last decade have made his skills as a tailor redundant. It started with the flood of readymade garments from China and South-East Asia. Fabricator workshops found themselves outpriced and started shutting down.
Manufacturing shifted to factories, where the tailor went from being a craftsman to an employee. Where once a tailor would work on a single garment at a time, now the work was split up among three or four tailors. Productivity went up, and though payment continued to be at “piece rate” or per piece, the charges dropped.
Then about six years ago came the assembly line or the “chain system”. Processes were standardized, and new machinery was brought in to do everything from cutting cloth to sewing on labels and buttons. An army of 30-40 workers would now work on a single garment. One would do just the hem, the other the zip and the third the collar, etc.
Manufacturing costs came down even further, and a flood of international orders started pouring in. Suddenly there was a huge demand for workers, but they didn’t need to be craftsmen. Skilled tailors were relegated to small sampling departments and a new kind of labour started taking over in the factories.
These were unskilled workers brought in by contractors from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. While it would take a tailor a year to acquire the skill to stitch a “full piece” or entire garment, these workers were pushed onto the assembly line after two weeks of training. They settled in vast sprawling tenements in areas such as Kapashera, near Udyog Vihar.
The nali wali gali (street by the drain), which meanders off from the main Kapashera-Gurgaon road, is one such tailors colony in an area infamous for its filth. Local landowners here have created large compounds with hundreds of windowless, matchbox-sized brick rooms that they let out to the garment workers. In the heat of the Delhi summer, the rooms are baking and oppressive. The only access to the compounds is over a concrete beam that spans an open drain clogged with sewage and plastic bags. Four-five workers cram into each windowless room, for which they pay Rs1,000 a month.
In the warren of mud lanes, the conversation is about the wages being offered at different factories. The workers stay with a factory for five-six months, before returning home to their families. When they come back, they find work in another factory. Their wages are around Rs3,600, just above the minimum wage in Haryana. But the work hours are long, stretching at times to 15 hours. They’re paid overtime, they say, but only at their average hourly pay, not double that, as is customary.
Dozens of small “tailoring centres” have come up in these colonies to train workers for the assembly line. Zakir Siddiqui’s centre is a dusty room, open on two sides, with six electric sewing machines. His paan shop sits by the entrance. Siddiqui does not have time for ceremony. The rates for the tailoring courses are scribbled on the wall. A two-hours-a-day tailoring course that teaches workers just a little more than how to sew a straight line, but enough to get them into the factories, costs Rs300. The training for a “checker”, short for a garment inspector, costs Rs800. The centre currently has 80 students.
The tuition is brutal. Siddiqui paces between the machines shouting at the students, rapping them occasionally on the knuckles. “I need to train them with a stick,” he says, loud enough for all the students to hear. “If I train a student in 15 days, I make a profit of Rs100, if they take a month to learn, I make a loss.”
Malti, a middle-aged woman from Bihar, dressed in a bright polyester sari, is staring intently at her machine. She’s worked in Udyog Vihar before, but as a thread cutter. Now she wants to get on the tailoring assembly line. That she hopes will get her a better wage. Students at the centre are guaranteed a job with the caveat that they will only work for a single company that Siddiqui has an arrangement with. The agent from the company, he claims, gets Rs250 for every worker he brings. How much Siddiqui gets, he doesn’t want to disclose.
Virender Kumar, a worker from Uttar Pradesh, is the product of one such “tailoring centre”. He now works on the skirt manufacturing line of a company. Each individual assembly line has 42 workers, six helpers and one master craftsman. Kumar is responsible for the zips. In the years that he’s been working in Udyog Vihar, the number of machines on the assembly lines has gone up dramatically, as has the production. “Five years ago, a single assembly line would have put out 150 pieces a day,” he says. “Today we make 400.”
Kumar’s salary in the meantime has increased from Rs2,800 to Rs3,604. Unfortunately for him, while the minimum wage in Delhi was increased by 33% in February, wages in Gurgaon remain the same.
The increasing mechanization in the garment factories is being driven by clothing companies. In an effort to improve and standardize manufacture across units that are spread around the world, the companies have started stipulating the machinery a unit should use. “That way at least 70-80% of the quality is assured,” AEPC’s Koshy says.
Kaushal, meanwhile, has reconciled himself to becoming completely redundant. It’s only a matter of time before even the handful of skilled jobs in the sampling departments are taken away by sophisticated computer-controlled cutting, or CNC (computer numerical control) machines that have just started appearing in the factories.
“Soon there will be no difference between us and the assembly lines,” he says stoically. Would he join a tailoring shop? “There’s no work to be had there.” An assembly line? “Never.” “Gurgaon,” Kaushal says with a wide sweep of his hand as he prepares to leave, “is no place for tailors.”

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Following a main-stream newspaper article on Marks and Spencer’s and other multi-national’s take on the condition in Gurgaon.

Britain’s top labels thrive on Indian sweatshop labour
London, August 08, 2010
Britain’s best-known high street stores — Gap, Next and Marks and Spencer — have reportedly launched inquiries into abuse of working regulations at their Indian suppliers, which have resulted in children as young as six being left alone while their parents work in outlets in Delhi and in the satellite township of Gurgaon on its outskirts. According to the London Observer investigation, factories were using workers hired through middlemen, and paying them as little as 25 pence an hour, in the case of Gap and Next, and 26 pence an hour for Marks and Spencers. All three companies told The Observer that they are totally committed to ethical trading and will not tolerate abuses in their supply chain. All said their own auditing processes detected the problems and that they have taken swift action to tackle them. Gap, which uses the same factory as Next, confirmed it had found wage violations and gave its supplier a deadline of midnight last night to repay workers who lost out. Marks and Spencers said it has yet to see evidence to support the wage claims. Workers claimed that those who refused to work the extra hours have been told to find new jobs, a practice defined under international law as forced labour and outlawed around the world. The factory has pledged to apologise and reinstate anyone who lost their job. Next said it had found the situation to be “deplorable” and added the chairman of the Indian company it uses has apologised and promised to make amends, blaming demand for workers at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi for leaving factories short of staff. Gap admitted wage and overtime violations and ordered its supplier to reduce working hours to within the legal limits and to refund workers who have been illegally underpaid. Marks and Spencer admitted its supplier had been operating excessive overtime, but said it had acted quickly to tackle the problem.
(London Observer)

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While Marks and Spencer announced on 8th of August that they keep an eye on their suppliers in Gurgaon, on 21st and 23rd of August the very same suppliers sent armed thugs to attack workers at Viva Global. Following a press statement:

VIVA – GLOBAL (GURGAON) WORKERS BEATEN UP- HUNGER STRIKE BEGINS TODAY

MAZDOOR EKTA MANCH
Plot No. 48, First Floor, Opp. Maruti Gate No.2,
Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road, Gurgaon, Haryana
Phone No. 0124-4385478,9910159352,9958613761, 927828635.
Venue of the Hunger Strike: Viva Global Factory, 413, Udyog Vihar,
Phase – III, Gurgaon – 122 016, Haryana, INDIA

Workers including of the Viva Global Factory, including women were
brutally beaten up with hockey sticks and lathis by goons called in by
the Management of Viva Global, the Gurgaon based sweatshop apparel
house. The incident happened this morning between 9:30 and 10:00 AM
when workers were to enter the premises of the Factory, as part of a
tripartite agreement between the Management of Viva Global, the Labour
Department and the Garment and Allied Workers Union (GAWU). The
agreement was the outcome of a meeting between the three parties, held
on the 23rd of August 2010. The prevention of workers entering the
factory, is a serious violation of the above agreement. Besides being
beaten, a few workers were abducted in a vehicle by the goondas and
taken to an undisclosed destination. At least one worker is still
missing.

To protest against the high handedness of the Management of Viva
Global and its utter contempt for any laws, rules and rights of
workers, the workers of Viva Global have resolved that the President
of the GAWU, Ms. Anannya Bhattacharjee will be on an indefinite hunger
strike outside the gates of the Viva Global Factory. The hunger strike
began today after a notice to this effect was given to the Labour
Department. Our demands are :- 1) The abducted workers be immediately
brought back. 2) All workers be reinstated and 3) The Management of
the Viva Global apologise to the workers. Representatives of the
Mazdoor Ekta Manch have also lodged a police complaint against the
management for the unprovoked violence on workers and the abduction of
workers.

Viva Global is a major supplier of apparel to ‘reputed’ multinational
superbrands such as Marks and Spencer. There have been serious
violations of labour laws and human rights at the Viva Global Factory.
The Management has been using strong arm tactics against union
leaders, representatives of workers etc., each time that the workers
have demanded that basic amenities and legal wages be given to them.
On the 21st of Aug 2010, at 6.00 PM, contract workers were locked out
of the Factory in an attempt to illegally terminate them. Other
workers (non-contract workers) had then demanded that contract workers
be given their rights in terms of notice pay and the PF amount that
has already been deducted from their wages. Even on 23rd of August,
when workers reported at the gate for duty, they were allowed to to
enter the factory. About 15 local goons with pistols had threatened
the Union leaders and workers. A group of workers and union activists
had then complained about the incident to the Labour Department which
led to the tripartite agreement which had resolved : 1) That there
would be no goondagiri by the Viva Global Mangement whatsoever, 2) All
workers who were locked out would be taken back. Another tripartite
meeting is also scheduled for Thursday the 26th of August for further
discussions. However, the Management of the Viva Global has already
violated the agreement of the 23rd of August.

We would request you to spread the news of the workers struggle at
Viva Global. We would look forward to your solidarity and support!

With thanks // Rajeev Singh.
For the Mazdoor Ekta Manch, Gurgaon.
Media Contact: P. Saleena : 9 6 5 0 8 4 8 4 8 0 .

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Below the long list of workers’ reports from other factories in Gurgaon, showing that Viva Global is not a single ‘black sheep’.

Workers’ Reports – Faridabad Majdoor Samachar

24th of May 2010
Shahi Export, Plot 15a, Sector 28, Faridabad
…after days of overtime many workers collapse. on 24th of May 53 workers are brought to the nearby hospital. they have to be treated with oxygene. 41 workers remain in the hospital. most of the collapsed workers are women…

24th of May 2010
NTL Electronics, Plot F-28, Sector 6, Noida
…after days of overtime six female workers collapse and fall unconscious…

13th of May 2010
Palam Export, Plot A-205, Okhla Industrial Area Phase I
…after having worked 19.5 hours a day for several month a 22 years old worker suffers a heart attack and 50 female workers collapse at work…

13th of may 2010
Sargam Export, Plot 153, Udyog Vihar Phase I, Gurgaon
…during night-shift two workers collapse and fall unconscious…

Enexco Technology
(157 Nourangpur, Gurgaon)
There is money for ESI and PF cut from the 175 casual workers’ wages, but only 15 got an ESI card, and the card is temporary. If people leave the job PF is not paid – the PF form not given. After several years of employment a casual worker said: “Actually we are hired through a labour supplier, through a contractor”. In the factory there are another 125 workers hired through contractor and 40 permanent workers.

Orient Craft Worker
(Plot 15, Sector 5, IMT Manesar)
The 26 thread-cutting workers get 3,000 Rs per month, no ESI no PF. Official shift-times are from 9 am till 6 pm, but they make you work till 2 am. Only if clients/buyers come to the plant workers are let go at 6 pm. We work 60 to 70 hours overtime per month, but the pay-slip only shows 12 to 15 hours. Overtime is paid double rate, but on Sundays they are paid less than single rate. Some supervisors swear a lot at workers.

JNS Instruments Worker
(Plot 3, Sector 3, IMT Manesar)
There are 15 buses who bring and return people to and from work. They work from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm, those 200 who work till 8 pm are returned in smaller cars. The male workers work on two 12-hours shifts. The workers hired through contractors get less than single rate for overtime: 14 Rs per hours.

Kailash Ribbon Worker
(403, Udyog Vihar Phase III, Gurgaon)
The helpers among the 400 casual workers get 2,700 to 3,300 Rs, the skilled tailors get 3,500 to 3,900 Rs – neither ESI nor PF.

Eltex India Worker
(887 Udyog Vihar Phase V)
The workers employed in the plant work 200 to 250 hours overtime per month. Sometimes they make you work from 9 am till next day 9 am and then force you to work another whole shift. The overtime is paid single, and 500 to 800 Rs per month are embezzled. The helpers hired through contractors get 2,800 Rs, neither ESI nor PF. The wages are always delayed, we haven’t received our March 2010 wages yet (24th of April 2010).

Sargam Export Worker
(153 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
There are an abundance of little irregularities going on in this factory: there is always some overtime left unpaid; people who had worked January and February 2010 and left the job since then were not paid the 300 Rs DA; those who leave now are not paid the statutory bonus.

Dheer International Worker
(299 Udyog Vihar Phase II)
People work 250 to 300 hours overtime per month. The payment is at single rate and 50 to 60 hours get embezzled per month. Wages are paid delayed.

Cosmy Worker
(864 Udyog Vihar Phase V)
The helpers working in this factory get 3,000 Rs. The skilled tailors get 140 to 150 Rs per day. Wages are delayed. If you leave the job you have major trouble to get your outstanding wages. Workers who go to the local ESI office in Dundahera have to face a lot of trouble.

Mac Export Worker
(143 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The 400 workers employed in the factory get neither ESI nor PF. The helpers get 3,500 Rs. When being hired the tailors are promised 175 Rs for an 8-hour day, actually they are paid 150 to 160 Rs. The normal shift runs from 9 am till 9 pm, but they make you work longer, till 1:30 am. Overtime is paid at single rate, every month 300 to 400 Rs get embezzled. Lack of drinking water is a major problem in the factory. The toilets are very dirty. The big boss swears a lot.

Asian Handycraft Worker
(310 Udyog Vihar Phase II)
The helpers are paid 3,300 Rs to 3,500 Rs, the skilled workers get 4,000 to 4,500 Rs.

Kis Export Worker
(871 Udyog Vihar Phase V)
In the factory 450 workers are employed through two different contractors, they get neither PF nor ESI. The tailor helpers get 3,914 Rs and the tailors get 156 Rs per day. The 300 Rs DA statutory from January 2010 has not been added to the monthly wages. The thread cutting and bead-stitching women workers are paid 3,600 Rs. The daily working-times are from 9 am till 10 pm – 18 to 20 days per month they make you work till 1 am. About 100 women workers are send home at 9 pm, but a third contractor supplies 20 female workers who work from 9 pm till 1 am. There is no monthly day off. The male workers work 160 to 200 hours overtime per month, about 200 Rs get embezzled. There is a lot of swearing on the shop-floor, there is a lack of drinking water.

Security Guard
The office of the company Swift Security is situated at Nihal Bhavan in Dundahera. The company employs 6,000 security guards, on 2×12-hours shifts. There is no weekly day off. If you work 30 days per month, 12 hours per day they pay you 4,000 Rs to 5,000 Rs. Even after three to four years of employment they don’t give you ESI. They cut 540 Rs in the name of PF – when people leave the job, some are paid double amount of the fund money, some are paid single, some are not paid out at all. Sometimes you have to work 36 hours on stretch – they won’t give you money for food, and the overtime is paid single. Wages are paid with delay. If we don’t have any security ourselves, so will we give anyone else security? We just wear uniforms and stand around.

Eastern Medikit Worker
(292 Udyog Vihar Phase II)
The 300 casual workers were paid their March wages late, on 20th of April. The company did not pay the new minimum wage, only 3,870 Rs. The April wages haven’t been paid yet – 15th of May. The company does not include the DA of July 2009 nor the DA of January 2010. The casual workers work on two 12-hours shifts, the overtime is paid at 14 Rs an hour – March overtime has not been paid yet either. The management would not let casual workers leave after 8-hours, no matter if the worker is ill, no matter if he or she might drop dead.

Bharat Export Overseas Worker
(493 Udyog Vihar Phase III)
Non of the 300 workers employed in the factory get ESI or PF. The helpers in the finishing department get 120 to 130 Rs for an 8-hours shift. Workers work 150 to 200 hours overtime per month, payment is at single rate. There are three faulty fridges for drinking water. The toilets are very dirty.

Oberoi Hotel Worker
(Shankar Chowk)
The workers employed through Starling Vilasan work on the construction site of the five-star Oberoi Hotel. The 300 workers get neither PF, nor ESI. Their wages are below the minimum wage: 3,600 Rs.

Pearl Worker
(446 Udyog Vihar Phase V)
Even if management makes you work till 1 am, they won’t give you extra-money for food. Only the first two hours overtime are paid at double rate – the rest single rate.

Radhnik Export Worker
(215 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
If you want to get drinking water or go to the toilet you have to take a token. If they make you work till 2:30 am they give you 30 Rs extra for food, though the food in the canteen is not good. We work 80 to 100 hours overtime per month, they pay single, but force us to sign double-rate. The 500 skilled tailors get neither ESI nor PF – officially they run as employees of Om Enterprise, but management says, that when clients/buyers come to the factory we are supposed to say we are Radhnik company workers.

Polypack Worker
(193 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
If you take one day of per month, they mark all four weekly days off as absent, even so you have worked. This means that you lose 720 Rs of your monthly wage. The daily shift times are from 8 am till 8:30 pm, they often make you work till midnight. They call any work after 12.5 hours shift ‘overtime’, and pay it less than single rate. The 50 workers hired through contractors are paid 5,400 Rs: for 26 days of 12.5 hours.

Taurus Home Furnishing
(418 Udyog Vihar Phase III)
The helpers are paid 3,000 Rs, the checkers 3,500 Rs and the tailors work on piece-rate. Out of 300 workers only 10 to 15 might get ESI and PF. The drinking water is bad. The toilets are dirty.

Countess Craft Worker
(6 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The workers employed in the carpet show-room have not been paid February, March and April 2010. The company has not paid into the PF fund the last two years. Since three years the company has not paid the statutory bonus.

Crew Banks Worker
(199 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
Severe wage delays of two month now.

Gaurav International Worker
(198 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The managers swear a lot at us. The femal thread-cutting workers are paid only 3,000 Rs, the male helpers 3,000 to 3,300 Rs, there is also physical abuse going on.

*** The crisis and the global hunt for calls -

Gurgaon is one of the biggest call centre hubs of the globe, having been re-location destination for a lot of US call centre work. Now that the crisis hits the US wage level, calls might be re-routed back up to the global north. A short summary of a recent study and a short workers’ report about house-keeping work in an American Express call centre in Gurgaon.

US matches Indian call centre costs
(Financial Times, 17th of August 2010)
Call centre workers are becoming as cheap to hire in the US as they are in India, according to the head of the country’s largest business process outsourcing company. High unemployment levels have driven down wages for some low-skilled outsourcing services in some parts of the US, particularly among the Hispanic population. At the same time, wages in India’s outsourcing sector have risen by 10 per cent this year and senior outsourcing managers based in the country command salaries above global averages. Pramod Bhasin, the chief executive of Genpact, said his company expected to treble its workforce in the US over the next two years, from about 1,500 employees now. “We need to be very aware [of what's available] as people [in the US] are open to working at home and working at lower salaries than they were used to,” said Mr Bhasin. “We can hire some seasoned executives with experience in the US for less money.” The narrowing of the traditional cost advantage is also spurring other Indian outsourcers to hire more staff outside India. Wipro, the Bangalore-based IT outsourcing company, started to recruit workers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the global economic downturn. Suresh Vaswani, joint chief executive of Wipro Technologies, forecasts that half of his company’s overseas workforce will be non-Indians in two years, from the current 39 per cent. India is still expected to retain the overall cost advantage, particularly in more sophisticated software outsourcing. The move to expand operations in the US also comes as protectionist rhetoric against outsourcers rises in Washington. Last week, Charles Schumer, a US senator, described Indian IT outsourcing companies unflatteringly as “chop shops”, a term referring to places where stolen cars are dismantled for their parts.

If you can bare to scroll through various rather tedious semi-racist comments on the article mentioned above, please have a go and click HERE

Call Center Worker
(226 Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The call center company is called FIS. About 1,500 to 2,000 workers phone for American Express.In the call center 22 house-keeping workers are emplyed through contractor. In January 2010 we were given 3,600 Rs and the contractor promised to increase the next wage by 300 Rs. In fact he paid 3,300 Rs in February. We work between 40 and 160 hours overtime, each hour overtime is paid 12.5 Rs. Money for ESI and PF is cut from the wages, but we are neither issued an ESI card, nor do we receive PF when we have to leave the job. Instead they cut 1,400 Rs from your last wage. Therefore most people leave after pay-day, which is around the 8th or 9th of the month. You ‘only’ lose 800 Rs outstanding wage this way.

*** Circle of Animal Lovers: A NGO worker reports -

Worker’s Report – Faridabad Majdoor Samachar

Circle of Animal Lovers (NGO) Worker
(E-67, DDA Flats, Saket)
I work in the NGO. There are 30 of us employed here – doctors, drivers, cooks, helpers and office staff. The doctors get over 20,000 Rs per month for 8 hour days, the office staff gets 6,000 to 8,000 Rs. The drivers get 6,500 Rs for 12-hour duties. The cook and the helpers get between 3,000 and 5,500 Rs per month for 14-hours shifts. Non of the workers get ESI or PF. The NGO is engaged in a sterilisation scheme for street dogs – which is part of the street-dog eradication program run by the Delhi government. Although officially the government has assigned the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) for this task, but actually the big shots have decided to let cheap NGO workers complete the work. The MCD pays 445 Rs for the sterilisation of a dog, and besides provides other favours to the NGO management: the NGO gets water and electricity free. The vans are called ambulance and are in a bad condition – but because of the NGO name the police do intervene. The madam running the NGO swears at the workers and even lifts her sandal to threaten the helpers. The 15 workers who stay in the office take some of the restaurant food that was originally meant for the dogs, some of the donations meant for the dogs get messed with, too. The whole process of catching a dog, sterilising it and letting it free is very painful – several dogs die and are buried in the scrub-lands at night. But they are entered as completed sterilisations in the register. The two doctors have to perform 30 to 40 dog operations per day… a doctor let some younger helpers do the work. This increases pain for the animal and the likelihood of death.

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

*** Series of wildcat strikes of garment workers to enforce higher wages -

We document six short reports by garment workers about seemingly spontaneous strikes to enforce higher wages, which took place in April 2010. The strikes have two parallels, one in space, the other in time. The strikes correspond with the more violent and widespread mobilisations of garment workers in Bangladesh and they continue the series of previous strikes during the last official increase of the minimum wage – click GurgaonWorkersNews no.9

The combination of the fact that companies do not passing on the wage hike and the fact of current inflation forces workers to react. One of the limitations of these struggles is the fact that mainly the skilled tailors get involved, while unskilled workers tend to remain outside. The struggles also depend on the enormous ups and downs of work/orders in the international garment industry.

Viva Global Worker / Marks and Spencer Worker
(413 Udyog Vihar Phase III)
The March 2010 wages did not contain the 300 Rs DA statutory since January 2010. The workers did not like that. On 8th of April 2010 600 skilled tailors stopped the machines and struck. On 9th of April the tailors continued the strike and some workers in the finishing and sampling department joint them. On the 10th of April the strike continued… when the management promised that the 300 Rs DA will be paid with the April wages the workers started work at 4 o’clock in the evening. Viva Global manufactures garments, among others, for Marks and Spencer. Non of the 200 workers in the finishing department get ESI or PF. Out of the 600 tailors only 150 get ESI and PF. Workers work 80 to 90 hours overtime per month, but payment is at single rate.
http://www.marksandspencer.com/

Fortune Garments Worker
(Plot 39, Sector IV, IMT)
The wages are delayed every month. On the 9th of April they told the skilled workers: “We will pay you after the lunch-break, now go back to work.” When wages were not given by 4 pm, the workers stopped the machines and went to the office of the general manager. At 6 pm the place was in chaos, the tables were over-turned, the window-panes broken, the company called the police. The skilled workers were given the March wages on 12th and 15th of April, the other workers were told that money will be given on the 17th of April. Then they said that wages will arrive on the 20th… On the 20th of April, after the meal-break, the workers in the finishing department stopped working, they continued their tool-down on the 21st and were paid a day later on the 22nd of April. The workers doing computer embroidery stopped working at 9 pm on the 24th of April and refused to do overtime on the following Sunday. On Monday the general manager told these workers that they will be paid by 2 pm, that they should go back to work… The workers continued working till 4 pm and then stopped the machines. The computer embroidery department was on strike Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday they gave 20 workers their wages, but the machines continued to stand still. On Thursday the 29th of April, after all workers in the department had been paid, work was re-started at noon. The workers in the knitting department did not stop working – they were paid an advance of 3,000 Rs, but they haven’t seen their March wages by 1st of May 2010. At the moment there is little work, so there are only 600 workers – after August there will be more than 1,000 workers, but none of them will have PF or ESI. I don’t know whether the middle-management and supervisory staff gets ESI and PF. In the factories minors of 13 to 15 years of age are employed. The thread-cutters get 3,500 Rs for a 30-days month, 8-hours day. The drinking water is bad, the toilets are dirty.

Boutique International Worker
(B-246, Okhla Phase I)
Around 200 skilled tailors struck work on 28th of March 2010 in order to enforce the new minimum wage of 6448 Rs instead of the old wage of 4,370 Rs, which was still paid by the company. After management reassured workers about a wage increase, they started work on 29th of March. After the management did not publish a written notice about the wages work was stopped again on 30th of March, the management put up the notice and work started at 11 am. The workers in the second factory on plot D-80 stopped work on 29th of March, because the management did not pay the February DA. Since then the company started to sack the ‘old tailors’ and to hire fresh ones, paying them 5,850 Rs.

Wearwell Worker
(B-61 and B-134 Okhla Phase I)
Around 850 skilled workers in both factories struck work on 20th of March 2010, from 9 am till 9 pm. The next day work stopped again at 10:30 am. Work resumed only after the management put up a notice saying that the 400 permanent tailors will get 248 Rs for an 8-hours day and the 450 casual workers 225 Rs. Then the company started to kick out casual workers and hired new ones, paying them 203 Rs. Workers in the factory have to work from 9 am till 3 am on regular levels. The company used to provide transport for the female workers, but they have stopped the transport.

R.V. International Worker
(D-153, Okhla Phase I)
On 14th of March 2010 about 100 skilled tailors stopped work and demanded 248 Rs for an 8-hours day. So far they were paid 175 Rs and they were promised 225 Rs. After two hours of strike the management agreed to pay 248 Rs. The company started to lay off people – end of April about 30 tailors were left. The thread-cutting and stitching female workers get 2,400 to 2,500 Rs per month.

Orient Fashion Worker
(F-8, Okhla Phase I)
On 15th of March around 900 skilled workers stopped the sewing machines. After one hour of strike the company put up a notice announcing 248 Rs for 8 hours-day.

*** The Student-Worker? Short glimpse at current disputes at Delhi universities -

“There aren’t any students here, no teachers to suffer. It’s a school without rules out here”. (From movie-song, ‘Rang de Basanti’)

The relation between students’ and workers’ struggles used to be, if at all, a type of political alliance. Since the 1950s the relation changed, it increasingly became a social, rather than merely a political relation: more and more students were forced to see themselves as workers in the making. Whether a student will see her or himself as a worker while being at university roughly depends on six dimensions:

* young people from what kind of class background are able to enter university?
* how is the process of education in itself organised (division of learning, targets, hierarchies)?
* what is the relation between students and university staff and workers?
* do students have to work or do internship while studying?
* what is the influence of the wider (class) political situation and movement on the campus?
* what is the future prospect after leaving university, in terms of labour market, debts, position of intellectual labour in the social production process?

Like the society to which it has played the faithful servant, the university is bankrupt. This bankruptcy is not only financial. It is the index of a more fundamental insolvency, one both political and economic, which has been a long time in the making. No one knows what the university is for anymore. We feel this intuitively. Gone is the old project of creating a cultured and educated citizenry; gone, too, the special advantage the degree-holder once held on the job market. These are now fantasies, spectral residues that cling to the poorly maintained halls.
(From: “Communique from an Absent Future”, California Universities)

We neither have space nor knowledge to describe how these six dimensions have re-shuffled over time. Therefore just some general remarks. There are about 104 lakhs higher students in India, which is only around 7 per cent of the young population in ‘university age’. During recent years more semi-private colleges came up. Young, often working class youth entered these colleges – rather than the traditional universities and IIT’s – given that they promise a ‘more directly’ marketable degree. The perspective of these students and their families on ‘education’ is mainly one of future investment: debts for paying the fees most correspond to future job and wage perspectives. The pressure on students to pass the exam has aggravated, apart from a question of pride, prestige it became a more existential question of managing the debts. In December 2010, 20 students (in high school and college) committed suicide in Maharashtra; most due to intense fear of poor academic performance. India has the second highest suicide rate in the world and 40 per cent of the cases are in the adolescent age group. In 2006, 5,857 students, this is 16 a day, committed suicide across India – this number has increased drastically since then.

“One day this will all end. We’ll all go our separate ways. Life gets busy. Too many problems. After college we have to dance to fate’s tune. When I’m out on the streets… nameless, faceless, scared. Just walking the streets”.
(From dialogue, ‘Rang de Basanti’)

The process of education is changing. Professors at a meeting about ‘Democracy and University’, held in March 2010 complained about the increasing Taylorism of their work: students are given DVD’s for ‘e-learning’, as part of the planned shift to semester-system at Delhi University professors would have to correct 30 papers for marking a day, the time for revision has been cut down, teachers are now officially called ‘stakeholders’, which creates a kind of ‘client’ relation with the students. Professors and students fear that the planned opening of the education market for ‘foreign universities’ will foster this trend towards ‘universities becoming a market-place’. Another expression of the ‘neo-liberal’ university is the increase in casual work among the university staff. Most of the work like canteen, cleaning, security is now outsourced to contractors. There have been various struggles around this issue – see for example the report by PUDR jnu_workers_report

In addition to recent fee hikes and hikes in hostel rents the state intensifies repression against the more radical part of the student movement – under the pretext of ‘anti-Maoist’ anti-terrorism. There are ongoing protests about this issue, for more information click HERE
While most of the more radical student groups either solely focus on the campus or use the student world as ‘cadre-recruitment-base’ for the party, for example student unions like AISA, some students start to debate the question of the ‘historical material’ changes of the position of students within society and in relation to the working class, for example the group Correspondence – click HERE for their pamphlet.

Students protest fee hike
Greater Noida, August 17, 2010
Protesting against the fee hike, students of IEC College of Engineering & Management today boycotted classes and held demonstration outside the college. “Though the university registrar has informed that the fee approved by the fee fixation committee is applicable to the first year students only, the college is demanding the hiked fee from the second year students as well which is unjustified,” said the agitating students.
“We are also protesting against the fee hike for the first year students. The fee of Rs 75,000 was already high. Now, it has been hiked to about Rs 85,000 for B.Tech., MBA and MCA courses,” the students pointed out. “Since Friday, we have been protesting peacefully and requested the college management to resolve the issue. As it did not pay heed to our pleas, we were forced to demonstrate today. We have come here to study and not involve ourselves in any agitation,” they added.

Protest by teachers against semester system at Delhi University
New Delhi, August 17, 2010
As the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) today held a massive demonstration outside the vice-chancellor’s office over the issue of intrroduction of semester system. DUTA today claimed that the tussle with the administration had strained its relationship with college principals. “Never before in the past have the principals and the DUTA come into conflict in this manner. The vice-chancellor is trying to create a rift between principals and the teachers to impose semester system in science courses. He is issuing them ‘orders’ to implement semester system,” said DUTA president, Aditya Narayan Mishra.

Rohtak University – Faridabad Majdoor Samachar
Maharshi Dayanand University Security Worker
(FMS January 2010)
In 2001 they started to hire guards through contractors. Because the minimum wage was not paid in 2002 the guards, the gardeners and cleaners went to an official who sent them to the labour department. Since then the number of workers hired through contractors has increased relative to the permenent workers and the labour law is violated openly. In 2005 workers started a sit-in protest and hungerstrike in front of the office of the principal. Workers gave a notification to members of parliament and even to the Prime Minister… In order to surpress the resistance they started to sack workers bit by bit. At that time only 18 guards out of 90 were paid the DC rate, the rest was paid 100 Rs for a 12-hours day. They don’t get ESI or PF. The guards come from nearby villages… When there was major construction work done at the university they brought workers from far away to do the job. The female workers carrying bricks, sand, cement they call coolies and they pay them only 82 Rs a day. The male workers are paid 92 Rs. There is a large number of 14 to 15 year old boys working, they are paid 82 Rs.

*** Strike against the Games / Life and struggles of workers building the Common Wealth Games in Delhi -

Please click HERE for the report on living and working conditions of construction workers on the Common Wealth Sites in Delhi. Below you can find a short note on a current strike of CWG construction workers. For more information check out following links:
NSI
Radicalnotes

Building workers on dharna
New Delhi, August 12
For the second time in the month, construction workers employed at the Miranda House Commonwealth Games site sat on a dharma outside the college. The workers, students and teachers, under the banner of the Delhi Nirman Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, were protesting against the non-payment of wages. The workers were supported by many Delhi University students, members of the Miranda House Staff Association, women’s and youth organizations like Centre for Struggling Women (CSW) and Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS). They were also protesting against several other violations of labour laws. “The workers have not been paid for the entire one month and four days for which they have been working at the college. Furthermore, the rate of payment fixed by the contractor is well below the legal minimum wage rate. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the contractor has defaulted on paying the workers and violated several labour laws, the main employer, i.e. the college principal, Ms Pratibha Jolly has refused to step in and release the workers’ arrears,” said a member of the Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti. “Since August 4, only a small part of the workers’ dues has been released with no further surety provided by the college administration to look into the other key demands of the workers,” he said.

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

*** An Ideal Village and the End of Peasantry / Some days in a Village in Haryana -

The south of Delhi’s industrial belt is connected to the vast village hinterland of Haryana. And there is no calm in the hinterland. We spent some days in Mandkaula visiting friends – you can read the travel diary below. It is followed by news items about recent semi-rural unrest.

Mandkaula, Haryana, India

Mandkaula is a village near Bawal, with about 15,000 inhabitants. It borders poor Muslim dominated Mewat district, situated close to the planned Manesar-Kundli Expressway. Mandkaula is an ‘Ideal Village’ meaning that it is chosen by Haryana government to get several crore Rupees for investments into road works, street lamps and so on. Mandkaula is an ideal Indian village in many senses. It has been in the centre of the Green Revolution, it has ‘benefited’ early on from irrigation and electrification. It is within the catchment area of the industrial labour market of Faridabad. The land-holding is more or less equally distributed between those who have land. Despite, or may be because of, being an ideal village we can see the social death of peasantry. After hundreds of years of ‘agricultural tradition’ the current older generation of peasants in their 60s is probably the last ‘peasant generation’ of this village. Their are few families who might continue farming, but the social domination of field work is gone.

Out of 15,000 inhabitants about 7,000 are landless, mainly ‘castes’ engaged in handicrafts like pottery and weaving, some street cleaners. This is a quite typical ratio for India. Less typical is the quite equal land-distribution amongst the landed peasants, belonging to the Jat caste. About 80 per cent of them have around 5 acres. Out of the 250 potter families around five people still work with the stone-wheel and clay – they have no apprentices for the future. There are only one or two hand-looms left, the nearby industry has undermined the market position for hand-woven goods. There are about 400 acre common land, which basically means land taken-over and used by the state. The government built a stadium and a university department for agriculture studies on the common land.

Mandkaula was in the centre of the Green Revolution. Electricity arrived in 1964, largely replacing hand or bullock-driven wells with electrically operated borewells. Irrigation was improved through a nearby bigger canal. In the mid-1960s the government ordered a structural program to ‘unify’ land-holdings. Individual farmers used to own scattered land, after the reform most of them had a single unified piece of land. Then came the tractors. Nowadays there are more than 300 tractors in the village. Crop pattern changed since the 1950s and 1960s. Where there used to be millet and other rough crops, there is only wheat left. Rice production only started with the development of the canal and the tubewells. A lot of the harvest and wheat thrashing work is done by machines plus wage labourers. A gang of wheat thrashers from Rajasthan travel with their diesel-fuelled thrashing machine. They take about 800 to 900 Rs per acre. They provide the labour force, around ten workers. It usually takes them about one hour for an acre. After the wheat harvest in Haryana they drive on towards the soy bean harvest in Madhya Pradesh. Thanks to mechanisation, the wheat harvest takes about seven days, the rice harvest not longer than 15 days.

The living standard amongst the peasant is decent, much better than the living standards of industrial workers in town. The houses and inner-yards are airy, no feeling of crowdedness. You are more likely to find more televisions, coolers, fridges here, than in workers’ homes. But life is traditional. Women wear their faces covered when around strangers. The houses of the landed are spacially detached from the houses of the potters and the cleaners. ‘Caste’ live amongst ‘caste’. Without land and without jobs the former artisans are much harder hit. They complain that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is not implemented. There are about 150 people in the village who got a job card. There are 80 NREGS jobs, but they ran out. Instead of creating NREGS jobs, the panchayat engages outside contractors for road works and other infrastructural jobs, because he can cash in commission. Most of the farmers in Mandkaula are in debt, often for non-agricultural expenses like family houses, dowry or education.

The sons born in the 1970s and 1980s were not to become farmers. Most farmers tried to get them into government jobs: the police force, the army, the administration. The family of our comrade is no special case. His father owned 50 cows for diary production. In the early 1970s all his labourers left Mandkaula in order to work in the factories of nearby Faridabad. Contractors of Escort, Goodyear and other companies came to the village offering higher wages and a life in the urban. Our comrade himself left the village and worked in factories for some years. He returned to the village to keep the family farm going, but all his four sons have become office workers. Two of them commute every day between Faridabad and Mandkaula, which is about 40 minutes by train and another 30 minutes by three-wheeler. Living in the village is cheaper and better – but the younger sons want to leave the village soon.

If the Kundli-Manesar Expressway develops according to plan about 27 villages will disappear in the ‘special corridor’. Two kilometres on both sides of the expressway are dedicated for industry and real estate. The state starts to offer money to the land-owners, but people wait and see how prices develop. In that way the farmers always relate to the government: they need the government for jobs for their sons, they need it for the procurement of their harvest, for the subsidies and village development, for the final sale of their land.

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The longer lists about ‘village protests’ is random and arbitrary. The village is everything else, but not a ‘proletarian community’. We know to little about the background and class position of the farmers protesting against land acquisition for a nuclear power plant or against lack of electricity. We don’t know who blocked the street and attacked police posts. As we can see from the short report from Mandkaula – the villages are crisis ridden and they are divided. Social tension is increasing, and it finds many different channels, some of them seem to reflect the old inter-village oppression. For recent conflicts between Dalit and Jats in Mirchpur, a Haryana village please read HERE

Protesters halt traffic
Jind, July 28
The district witnessed traffic blockades at three places to highlight their grievances on various issues.
A large number of shopkeepers blocked traffic at Patiala Chowk by sitting on dharna on the main crossing for an hour to express resentment over the increasing number of thefts in the locality in the past few days. The blockade was lifted after the intervention of the ASP, who assured them of a proper action.
Meanwhile, residents from Pouli village here blocked traffic on National Highway-71 linking Jind with Rohtak in protest against inadequate supply of drinking water in the village. The villagers claimed that there had been no water supply for the past three days. The third such incident was reported from Braha Khurd village located on the Jind-Gohana road. The villagers held protest after an elderly person was run over by a speeding vehicle this morning. Alleging delay and inaction on the part of the police to chase and arrest the accused driver, residents of the village blocked the traffic by laying down wooden logs and parking their vehicles across the road.-

Furious villagers attack police post
Sirsa, August 2
Irked at the merciless thrashing of a vendor by the police, villagers attacked a police post at Kulan village in this district last evening. Such was the fury of the mob that the in charge at the police post had to run for safety. The villagers, including women, later sat on dharna outside the post till senior officers reached there and made the policeman apologise for his act. The police had yesterday raided certain places to check gambling and rounded up five gamblers. Puran Singh, a vendor, out of sheer curiosity, went towards the police post to see what was happening. Prem Kumar, in charge of the police post, beat him up with a stick, dragging him inside the police post situated on the main crossing of Kulan village. The police action incensed the villagers and shopkeepers in the vicinity, who raised slogans and against the police and freed the victim. In the meantime, some women members of the family of the victim reached there with sticks and barged into the post, forcing the cop to flee. Additional police force from Tohana and brought the situationunder sat on dharna outside the police station with the victim and his wailing children. The villagers demanded an apology from Prem Kumar and that the police should bear the expenditure of victim’s medical treatment. They blocked the crossing halting traffic towards Bhuna, Ratia, Tohana and Jakhal.

Power Pangs – Villagers lock up school, anganwari
Sirsa, August 10
After the alleged beating up of a power nigam SDO by some villagers and subsequent arrest of an accused, residents of three villages today adopted a tough posture and decided to withdraw their children from schools and anganwaris. Villagers from Dhigtania, Chouburja and Rangrikhera today blocked traffic and locked the village school and the anganwari in protest against the erratic supply of power to their villages.

In Jind village, substation closed
Jind, August 10
Residents of at least three villages in the district locked a power substation and blocked traffic at two separate places here today to highlight their grievances over short supply of power in rural areas. The protests were lifted after intervention of the officials concerned. The villagers locked the 33 kV substation at Singhana village following an altercation with the staff posted there.

Irate villagers damage buses
Karnal, August 11
Incensed over the alleged failure of the authorities concerned to regulate power supply, residents of Tahkhana village blocked the National Highway No. 1 near Tarawari, 15 km from here, for about two hours today. The protesters, comprising mainly children and women, pulled down hoardings and went on the rampage, damaging three Haryana Roadways buses of the Panchkula, Ambala and Chandigarh depots. Hundreds of vehicles and commuters remained stranded on the road and foreigners, who were on their way to Chandigarh, got scared of the protest. The protesters alleged that power supply was erratic for the past over five months, but nothing had been done in this regard.

Gorakhpur farmers oppose acquisition
Fatehabad, August 17
Farmers from Gorakhpur village in this district, where the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NIPCL) is to set up a power plant soon, are up in arms against the government move to acquire their land. Hundreds of farmers met District Revenue Officer Om Prakash Verma today and submitted a memorandum asking the authorities to acquire alternative land for the plant. The villagers, whose land has come under this notification, have started filing individual objections with the authorities. They held a meeting in the village chaupal yesterday and decided to oppose the government move, threatening suicide if the government did not budge. The state government had recently issued a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act-1894 for acquisition of 1,313 acres of the village for the plant. “We are not going to part with our agriculture land at any cost,” declared Dana Ram, a farmer, whose 52 acres fall under the land selected for acquisition. On 25th of August the media reported: The farmers’ agitation against the acquisition of their agriculture land for the proposed nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur has picked up momentum with villagers from 14 neighbouring villages coming out in their support.
For more: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/aug2010/indi-a26.shtml

Power-less, villagers clash with cops
Damage substation; police fires into air; sarpanch among 300 booked
Jind, August 19
Sans power for the past three days, hundreds of irate residents of Nagura village in the district resorted to violence, which lead to a clash between them and the police last night. The police fired several rounds into the air, besides resorting to a lathi charge, to disperse the mob. The violence resulted in heavy damage to the 132 kV substation and disruption of power supply to several villages in the region. Several persons, including some policemen, were injured when protesters resorted to throwing stones. A large number of policemen have been deputed at the substation and in the village. The police has booked about 300 persons, including the sarpanch of the village, Rajesh Kumar, in this connection. According to reports, hundreds of villagers assembled on the Jind-Assandh road last night in connection with the power supply problem. The police then opened fire into the air and resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the violent mob. At least six policemen, including Krishan Kumar, SHO of the Alewa police station, were injured in the violence. Property and machinery worth about Rs 8 lakh was damaged at the substation, said an official.

Villagers make team beat a hasty retreat
Fatehabad, August 22
A team of officials of the Food and Supplies Department from Fatehabad had to beat a hasty retreat when they went to Nadel village near Jakhal for “door-to-door checking” of some records of foodgrains supplied through the public distribution system (PDS). Villagers, who suspected that the officials had come to the village to tamper with the records, snatched ration cards from them when they were allegedly making some entries in the cards of the villagers. The Tribune had published a report, “Rotten wheat finds way through PDS”, in these columns yesterday and highlighted the fact as to how fungus-infested wheat was sold to poor families in the village. Gurjeet Singh, a former member of the village panchayat, entries in whose ration card was allegedly tampered with by the officials, called villagers, who asked the team to leave their village.

3 killed as farmers go on rampage near Aligarh
August 16, 2010
Three persons, including a PAC jawan, were killed and nine injured in a village near Aligarh when farmers, demanding higher compensation for land acquired for a township, fought pitched battles with police who opened fire to restore calm. The violence broke out last night in Jikarpur village when the farmers went on a rampage vandalising a police post, indulging in heavy brickbatting and setting afire a bus and another vehicle. The trouble erupted after rumours flew thick and fast that a farmer leader had been arrested near the village which lies close to Uttar Pradesh-Haryana border. Over 2,000 farmers on Sunday staged a sit-in at Jikarpur, the epicentre of yesterday’s violence. The protesters also tried to block traffic at several places on Aligarh-Tappal road. Vijay Prakash said the farmers this morning destroyed machinery for construction of the Expressway. The farmers are on the warpath demanding higher compensation for land acquired for a township project along the Delhi-Agra Taj Expressway.

*** Short note on real estate business and the private-public land mafia in Gurgaon -

Gurgaon is still an Eldorado for the international real estate business. In August 2010 the Hooda Haryana government was put into a no less dubious public spot-light for getting engaged in shady land-deals in Gurgaon. Farm land was turned into cheap property to build an amusement park. We summarised some news items on the matter.

Govt under fire over Gurgaon land deals
Tribune News Service
Gurgaon, August 10
The Haryana government has come under sharp criticism for the recent move of leasing out big chunks of prime public land in Gurgaon to a private party at rates much lower than the prevailing market price. The plots, located in Sector 29 and Sector 52 of Gurgaon, have been leased out for the development of amusement parks.While the local HUDA officials and other authorities concerned are tightlipped over the issue, all-out efforts are being made to hand over the said chunks of prime public land to the private player. So much so that a road passing through one such chunk of land is being covered with loose earth to facilitate the beneficiary. The front leaders of the Federation of Residents Welfare Associations (FORWA) and Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC) maintained that the 25-acre plot in Sector 29 had been given on a 33-year lease at a nominal price of Rs 56.25 crore, as against the prevailing market price of Rs 2,016.67 crore for the purpose. “Similarly, the 17-acre plot in Sector 52, which could have been leased out for 33 years at Rs 548.53 crore as per the prevailing market price, has been given away for a meagre Rs 38.25 crore,” they asserted.”So many controversial land deals coming to light clearly vindicate our stance that the Hooda government is a regime of property dealers,” said an opposition party leader, adding that even the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also pointed out at the nexus between the state leadership and builders. Talking to The Tribune today, a front leader alleged that the Hooda regime eyed prime property in the National Capital Region (NCR), especially Gurgaon, and its single-point agenda was to grab farmers’ land in collusion with unscrupulous builders and colonisers.

*** The Social Tsunami Impact / Snap-Shots against Capital-Class-Crisis -

This is an attempt to introduce a regular update on general tendencies of crisis development in India – motivated by Greek shock-waves, naked shorts and potential spillovers. Apart from short glimpses on the macro-level of things we focus on general trends in agriculture and automobile sector: the current demise of the past and the toxicity of the future.

* The Crisis in July and August 2010 – A Summary

Tension between short-term influx and growing internal debts

The months of July and August 2010 confirmed the picture of the economy in India being in a waiting-loop of crisis. The government is able to announce that GDP growth is still on 8 percent-growth-path and that, after the massive outflow of 20 billion USD of short-term invested capital after the ‘Greek-Shockwaves’ in May 2010, money is flowing in again since June – mainly as short-term portfolio investment. These ‘good news’ are in contrast with the probably more substantial worries expressed during the last two months:
– the association of industrialists Assocham expects inflation to increase to 15 per cent in the coming months; the general inflation, which is in double digits for the fifth consecutive month, stood at 10.55 percent June – July 2010;
– the current trade deficit, which is a measure of higher imports of goods and services over exports, has already risen 50 per cent to 21.7 billion USD during April-May 2010 from around 14.4 billion USD a year ago; the trade deficit of the January – March quarter was the biggest since 1981;
– bank credit is growing at an annual pace of around 22 per cent while deposits grow at a 15 percent; the credit-deposit ratio has widened to 73.44 percent in July 2010 from around 70 percent at the start of this year, climbing above the monthly average of the past five years of 69 percent;
– 50 per cent of the 2009-10 foreign currency reserves growth is due to appreciation of the Rs in relation to the US-Dollar; the Rupee has proven to be a rather volatile currency, meaning that there is a big scope for depletion of the reserves in case the Rupee plunges
– according to a Reserve Bank of India report from August 2010, `total factor productivity’ has dropped from 2.6 per cent in ’92-97 to 1.7 per cent in ’97-2005; while productivity in agriculture has slipped from 3 per cent to -0 .2 per cent, that in industry has dropped from 3.1 per cent to 1.4 per cent

Total GDP 2009: 1,367 Billion USD
Total Export 2009: 165 Billion USD
Trade Deficit 2010-11: 120 Billion USD
Total FDI 2009: 39 Billion USD
External Debts 2009: around 200 Billion USD
Public debts of GDP 2009: 60 per cent
Fiscal Deficit: 5 per cent
Share in global merchandise trade in 2008: 1.5 per cent

Tension over Inflation between Finance and Fiscal Managers

The major concern, the high inflation, causes increasing tensions between the ‘political class’ and their financial managers, e.g. in the form of the Reserve Bank of India. While the government still claims that the general inflation is mainly due to high food prices and that ‘a good monsoon’ will sort things out, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced in July that two-thirds of May inflation was contributed by non-food items. The RBI gives credits to the banking sector, the interest rates of these credits have been hiked four times since March 2010 in small steps of 25 basis points. Each of these interest hikes were accompanied by major public controversy whether the danger of inflation or the danger of ‘smothering the boom’ is more pronounced. “We will tell them [the government] that if inflation expectations solidify, it will push up government bond yields, loan rates will go up, and there will be a spiralling impact economy wide,” an RBI source said in August 2010. The interest hikes of the RBI have been passed on to consumers via the State Bank of India in August 2010. The SBI is the country’s largest lender. In August the SBI raised benchmark lending rate by 50 basis points to 12.25 per cent, making home, vehicle and other corporate loans linked with the rate costlier to middle-class consumers – and will very likely reverberate within the micro-finance sector of rural poverty, see below.

Tension between Central and State Government

The government’s take on the inflation problem is highly contradictive. After the central government has fuelled inflation by its reform to free-float petrol prices – causing considerable price hikes in June 2010 – Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee now asks the state governments to cut taxes on petroleum products, “a move that would help tame the current double-digit inflation”. According to Rupe Report from August 2010 on subsidies – click HERE [http://www.rupe-india.org/49/subsidies.html] – state taxes on petrol in India are significantly higher than average: “While India’s petrol and diesel retail prices are lower than those in many developed countries, they are higher than US prices as of May 2010, solely on account of taxes. The ex-tax prices of petrol and diesel were, respectively, 7 cents and 11 cents lower in India than in the US; yet the retail prices of petrol and diesel in India (i.e., including tax) were, respectively, 36 cents and 6 cents higher than in the US.” So basically the ‘state subsidies’ for the petrol or fertilizer sector are actually a ‘ slight lowering of taxation from a very high basis’. A similar point of tension between central and state governments is the implementation of the new goods and services tax (GST) across the country next year. State governments fear that the new tax will shift taxation power further towards the centre – increasing the problems of the debt-ridden state budgets. Terming the new tax as “anti-democratic, anti-poor and anti-farmer,” Madhya Pradesh finance minister Raghavji said in August that the new tax regime is aimed at divesting the states of their financial freedom. The proposed new indirect tax, which will subsume all the major levies like excise, sales tax, VAT and other local levies like octroi, is anti-democratic as the proposed GST Council will not be accountable to Parliament as well as to the state assemblies and through it the power of the states to levy tax on sale and purchase will be taken away. After the implementation of the GST regime, Madhya Pradesh will lose revenue to the tune of 2,200-2,500 crore RS per year. The Finance Minister’s answer does not require any further comments: “The gain from GST will propel the country from one-trillion dollar economy to two trillion-dollar economy in a short span of time,” he said while addressing a meeting of the industry chamber Ficci.

Tension over International Markets

Apart from re-shifting debt burdens the state in India is up for selling more assets. This time we don’t talk about mobile-phone licenses, but about the real stuff: coal, oil. In August 2010 the central government announced plans to list its state-owned coal mining company Coal India by October 2010 and to sell an additional stake in its national oil company. The Indian government gave the mandate for the offering for Coal India shares to Deutsche Bank, Enam Securities, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Kotak Mahindra Capital. Coal India claims to be the largest coal producer in the world, accounting for 85 per cent of Indian output. Question remains if this partial opening will ease the general tension concerning foreign investment in the Indian market, particularly the retail, defence and agricultural sector. In August 2010 US Trade Representatives engaged in a diplomatic clash when announcing that they will be “exploring all options, including legal tools, to force India to open up its agriculture market”. “We are exceptionally frustrated. I will tell you it’s generally not our practice to comment publicly as to whether we are going to take legal action, but I would tell you we are exploring every alternative and every enforcement tool available to us to get India to open up their markets on a number of agriculture issues, the dairy sector in particular,” the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, told the US lawmakers in early August. During his visit to India in late July 2010 David Cameron aimed at a similar direction: Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the government will allow the export of British civil nuclear technology to India for the first time. In return Mr Cameron is expected to call on India to reduce trade barriers in banking, insurance, defence manufacturing and legal services. A £500 million deal for BAE systems, Britain’s biggest defence contractor, to supply Hawk jet trainers to India is expected to be among “a string of high-profile contracts” to be signed during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit. During the same visit immigration minister Damian Green made clear that in future only ‘high-class’-migration to the UK is wanted: “I’m convinced that we can achieve our objective of reducing migration to the UK, whilst driving forward our commitment to trade and inward investment. We can do both. We want to encourage to come the UK the brightest and most talented workers, entrepreneurs and investors”. He said Britain is now working more closely with Indian police and educational bodies to clamp down on unscrupulous agents who use fake qualifications to get student visas for customers and those behind bogus colleges.

Tension in some of the multi-national industrial core sectors

Obviously there are dozens of union mobilisations each day – click HERE for daily up-dates on LabourStart. At this point we only want to mention certain apparent parallels between mobilisations at multi-nationals in China and India. While the Honda strike in China was paralleled by a dispute at Hyundai in India in spring 2010, now Foxconn workers in India entered the sad stage of victimisation after their Chinese brothers and sisters. The strike at Hyundai was followed by a similar ‘open’ dispute at Volvo, while unions at Apollo tyre maker agreed to employment of temp-workers and workload increase after two months of lock-out.

- 500 Foxconn workers stage protest
July 2010
Workers who came under exposure of mysterious gas leak at Foxconn factory in Sriperumbudur were admitted to Hospital with complaints of giddiness, nausea and breathlessness. About 500 workers from the factory with the support of unions in neighbouring industrial units went on a sit-in protest in front of the Foxconn factory. However, the protest was called off later on as authorities and management promised action. Meanwhile, there was no operation in the company, which assembles handsets for Nokia.

- Employees at Indian Volvo bus plant strike over pay
August 2010
The two week long strike at Volvo Bus factory in Hoskote near Bangalore has ended with both the management and workers union coming to a mutual agreement on wage revision. Management has agreed to revise salaries of workers with retrospective effect from April 1 last for three years. Management, however, declined to reveal the exact rise in compensation for the workers. This was the first ever strike at Volvo’s bus plant in India. The strike lasted for two weeks, but a labour conflict which has slowed down production has been going on for about three months, he added. Four of the plant’s employees were suspended following a dispute at the plant in April, during which they allegedly physically assaulted a manager. During the three month labour conflict some employees have worked less or not at all in protest. The conflict has set the plant’s production pace back 60 buses, Johansson said. The factory rolled out 535 buses last year.

- Lockout at Apollo Tyre plant ends
End of August 2010
The two-month lockout at Apollo Tyres Ltd.’s Perambra, India, plant has ended as the company and two unions have come to a resolution. The parties have agreed to raise the plant’s daily capacity from 308 tons to 340 tons. Meanwhile, Apollo will hire an additional 200 people, and unions have conceded that the company can use “secondary manpower” at certain times. “The increase in capacity, manpower and the use of secondary labor are all progressive steps,” says Satish Sharma, chief of Apollo’s India operations. The Perambra factory produces light truck, medium truck, bus and agricultural tires.

* The Rural Crisis

The news items we collected for July and August relate about growing farmers’ debts in Maharashtra and Punjab and the announcement of the state to claim land from bankrupt farmers, if necessary with the help of force. The rulers and their social managers also presented solutions to crisis-ridden farmers: the bad fix of micro-credits, micro-electronics, and, if necessary, re-location to African bloody soils of civil war. In the long-term the rural crisis might be fought out in the cities: “On a conservative estimate, 45 per cent of Indians would be living in towns and cities by 2050. This means that 379 million people may be added to the urban space over the next 40 years,” the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said in its report ‘How India Earns Spends and Saves’ in August 2010. Urbanisation is a process of concentration: While nearly 25 per cent of urban population in India lived in cities with a population of one lakh in 1901, the number increased to 45 per cent in 1951 and 69 per cent in 2001.
To cater to this growth, India needs to invest $1.2 trillion in capital expenditure, mainly infrastructure, over that period, an eight-fold increase of current spending levels, MGI said. India now spends 17 USD per capita on urban infrastructure, compared to rival China’s 116 USD. What ‘state-management’ of urbanisation also means was revealed in mid-August in Bangalore: concentration-camps. From a BBC report: “Officials in the Indian city of Bangalore are investigating a spate of deaths at a camp for beggars. At least 100 inmates have died in the government-run camp on the outskirts of the southern city this year, 27 of them in the past week. Activists accuse the state government of negligence and say conditions in the camp are appalling. More than 2,500 inmates live in squalor at the camp and diseases there are rife, correspondents say. There are just two toilets for every 500 inmates.”

Foreclosures in Maharashtra

Scores of farmers mired in debt in the arid cotton belt of Vidarbha in Maharashtra are close to losing their property rights, as the state-controlled Land Development Bank has kick-started the process to recover dues from them. A top revenue ministry official said the process to recover loans by selling off land belonging to those farmers who have defaulted is “definitely on” and could start as early as July 23. It is now a well-accepted fact that mega loan amnesty schemes, such as the ` 71,000-crore waiver announced by the central government and the state’s ` 6,240-crore loan waiver, excluded many farmers in the state. The waiver was applicable only for loans contracted from a government-backed institution. But in the hinterland, most farmers borrow from money-lenders. Many of them could not avail of the amnesty schemes, as the eligibility was restricted to those having two hectares or below. More-than-half of Vidarbha’s 35-lakh farmers own more than two hectares and, therefore, according to the government scheme, can only obtain a loan waiver of 25 per cent of their outstanding loan instead of a total write-off. Now, the state government wants to recover the remaining 75% of the loans that have not been paid back until now. “According to rules, the Land Development Bank needs to recover loans within five years from disbursement. More delay than the stipulated time makes it mandatory for the bank to recover its dues by selling the immovable assets, in this case, the land,” an official associated with the exercise told ET. He said necessary orders to take over the properties of farmers have been issued and the powers to take possession of defaulters’ land have been vested with the respective district deputy registrars. “These officials have demanded police protection. This is being extended to complete the process,” a Nagpur-based government official said.

Debts in Punjab

Central Punjab has been the food basket of the state and the country since the 70s when the Green Revolution brought bumper wheat and paddy crops in its wake. A quarter century later, farmers of the area continue with the same foodgrain rotation but at a heavy price. A steep fall in water table is forcing farmers to dig deeper in search of water fanning the start of an agrarian crisis. Farmers of these districts are not only digging deeper borewells for water every few passing years but also digging themselves into debt from which they have a little hope of climbing out. Amar Singh from Khairpur Jattan village in the Ghanaur block of Patiala says 95 per cent of its residents are under debt. Amar Singh, who owns 16 acres of land and has two grown up sons and their extended families to feed, says 10 years ago, the family irrigated their land with 60-ft deep borewells. He says he dug his first deep borewell in 2002. At present, he is replacing an older borewell, which had become defunct with 375-ft deep borewell. Ironically, he has not struck sweet water even now. The story of Harmesh Singh of is similar. Harmesh’s march towards debt stated five years ago when he installed a 225-ft borewell. He took a loan of Rs 1.85 lakh from a bank to do so. He also purchased a tractor shortly afterwards so as to reap the rewards of mechanised farming. However, whatever he earned was offset by continuous expenditure on his borewell. The farmer started off with a 5-brake horsepower (bhp) motor, upgraded to 7.5 bhp and finally installed a 15 bhp motor over a year ago. With a debt of Rs 4 lakh now and minus the tractor that he has sold off, Harmesh is now indifferent towards life. When asked about his loan repayment schedule, he says, “Sometimes I give it (instalment), sometimes I don’t.”

Bad Fix One: Microcredits

Microcredits became big business in India. The sudden credit crunch after October 2008 global banking crisis has shown how close the remote Indian villages are to Bombay financial district or the Wall Street – in financial terms. According to their own sources the microfinance sector growth 80 to 100 per cent a year. Around 70 to 80 million small farmers depend on micro-credits. There are reports that small ‘self-aid groups, e.g. women who buy a hand-loom together, turn against their members once they are unable to pay back their share of instalment. The microfinance sector has to grow quickly in order to dish out credits, in order to grow. So far the microfinance companies had to take loans from normal banks, paying about 12.5 per cent interest. They passed the interest on to the small farmers, who have to pay around 25 per cent interest. These farmers cannot obtain credit from ‘normal banks’, because they cannot show the required securities. Microfinance is placed between the official financial sector and the money-lenders. While before the crash US banks used to grant people mortgages 120 per cent above what they were able to show as security, the microfinance institutes in India still lend credits around 150 per cent above the value of the small farmers’ property. In order to attract more capital from global streams they have to show growth rates of the mentioned 80 per cent – the sector is overheating. International Groups like the German Allianz or real estate developer Larsen and Toubro entered the market. Using the argument that the sector has to get financial sources independent from the official banks – in order to lower the interest rates for the farmers – microfinance companies started to issue shares on the stock-market. SKS Microfinance is one of these companies. Within three years this company increased the number of ‘clients’ 20-times – now around 5.3 million people depend on loans from SKS. In June 2010 188 million shares of SKS were sold on the market. A boom similar to the IT bubble, but the crash will have much more severe social consequences.

Bad Fix Two: Microelectronics

In the 1870s the colonial state promised that the telegraph system will prevent further famines in India, given that the information about the lack of foodgrain can be circulated quicker. The famines in the 1890s were even worse – partly because of the telegraph-system resulting in even quicker speculation. History does not repeat itself, it move in a social-technological spiral. A study about ‘agricultural productivity increase through mobile-phone services’ concludes in August 2010: “Among the states studied, small farmers from Maharashtra (income between Rs 12-17,000/month) reported the highest use of their phones to access information, leading to diverse benefits. These included yield improvements, price realisation and better adjustment of supply to market demand. Ideally, market price information is valuable in deciding where and when to sell, but also in deciding the cropping pattern. On the ground, there was some marginal evidence that the bargaining power with traders (who used mobile services widely) improved when farmes were armed with market price information”.

Bad Fix Three: Relocation

African nations offering land for free to Indian farmers
11 Aug 2010, 1551 hrs IST,PTI
Some African countries are offering land on lease for 99 years for free to overseas farmers and India should grab the opportunity, industry body Assocham said today. The countries that were in the forefront trying to attract agriculturists were Sudan and Ethopia, he said. Several Chinese farmers have already accepted the offer and begun cultivation of land, said Tyagi.

Bad Fix Four: Pre-emptive Counterinsurgency

Currently the state in India is undertaking a major operation to enforce identity cards, which means photographing, fingerprinting, and iris-scanning every resident of India, plus issuing of digital files, the so-called UID System. Combined with the ID-card is a supposed reform of the ‘Below-Poverty-Line’-food program. The idea is to not ‘guarantee’ minimum prices for the ‘officially poor’ anymore, but to issue food coupons. The definition of who is poor and changes in the households composition or income is supposed to be combined with the ID-drive. From an official document: “Since the Unique Identification will not, in itself, have information on people’s poverty status, these kinds of tailoring of information will need to be added to the UID System. Further, since households do move in and out of BPL status there has to be provision for updating of information.” This again is added to the ‘job-card-regime’ of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which only grants paid employment to locally registered people, often requiring a bank account. The state is blatant about the ‘counterinsurgency’-character of NREGS:

“India battles Maoist influence with jobs scheme – BBC July 2010
Also called the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, it is being used to kick-start much needed development work in the area. Kaushik Lohar is a fortuitous beneficiary of a sudden rush of development work to keep the rebels away from his village. “If the Maoists were not at our door, all this wouldn’t have happened,” said Mr Lohar. “We have been waiting for development for decades.” He said he earns up to 3,000 rupees a month working on the dam, much more than what he used to earn as a daily wage worker.”

The “3,000 rupees a month” is the utter exemption. Not even 1 per cent households in Bengal got the promised 100 days’ work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2009, the latest report of the rural development ministry has revealed in August 2010. Out of the total 31,15,422 households, only 19,163 got 100 days’ employment. Households on an average got 32 days of work. Seventy-two per cent of eligible households got merely 15 days of employment, the report said. The figure for most other states hovers around 5-6 per cent. Not only do people get less than 100 days, they also tend to get much less than the minimum wage. Reported in August 2010: “For 11 days, 99 people toiled to dig a check-dam under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Tonk district of Rajasthan. But when it came to wages, they were paid only Rs 11 – Rs 1 for each day of labour. The Rs 11-payment was decided by a Junior Engineer who inspected the work site. Gudaliya residents protested, calling it a cruel joke, and appealed to the district administration. To no avail. For Gudaliya residents, this is not a lone case. For four jobs between April and June, they have reportedly been paid Re 1, Rs 7, Rs 12 and Rs 25. These wages have only increased their ire against the government. Incidentally, details of the payments are available on the MGNREGS website but have failed to move the authorities.”
Obviously, NREGS plays a role for poor people’s income, particularly for women – around 40 per cent of NREGS workers are women. A recent study – click HERE [upload pdf]- on NREGS impact on women says that although NREGS wages in the studied areas formed only 15 per cent of the total households income, it formed a significant income for the female members.
The state can not rely on the violence of structure and control alone, please read the fact-finding team’s press release about the killing of comrades Azad and Pandey from the 22nd of August 2010.

* The Automobile Crisis

We have little to say about the automobile crisis this month, just three news article snippets about Maruti: More Sales, Less Profits, More Debts!

- “The country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India, reported 29.18 per cent jump in sales for July 2010 at 1,00,857 units.”

- “Maruti Suzuki’s July Profit Unexpectedly Falls 20 per cent as Raw Material Costs Swell”

- “Maruti Suzuki is among carmakers to have introduced waiting lists in India as a lack of parts including tires, bumpers and batteries damps vehicle production. Local components makers have struggled to expand because of debt levels that are twice as high as Asian suppliers. India’s 133 listed makers of components and tires have an average debt-to-equity ratio of 138 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average for the 73 companies in the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Auto Parts & Equipment Index is 58 percent

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 – based on Summer 2006 prices:

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.9/30”


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