Gurgaon Workers News – Newsletter 11 – May 2008

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

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

In the May issue you can find:

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

*** Teaching a Lesson -
Short letter sent by a female teacher to Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar, telling about wages and working times in schools around Delhi/Gurgaon.

*** Verbal Abuse -
Female textile worker complains about verbal harassment by supervisor at Gaurav International, Gurgaon. Gaurav International is an Indian garment export house that works with major US companies like GAP & Wal-Mart.

*** Yet another long list of short information from workers employed at different companies in Gurgaon -
Continuation of short reports (for more see: Gurgaon Workers News no.10). Most of the reports do not show much more than the fact that the official legal working standards are not met. Most of the reports are from textile export factories, gathered in January and February 2008.

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

*** Wildcat strike by casual workers employed by Eastern Medikit, Gurgaon, December 2007 -
“The 3,000 casual workers employed in the four Eastern Medikit factories in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, stopped working during the night-shift of the 18th of December 2007. The arriving police told us to leave the factory, but we refused to do so. Instead we made our story heard: our November wages had not been paid”…

*** Police attack on striking casual workers at automobile parts manufacturer Automax, April 2008 -
April 2008: “The crisis started when hundreds of workers of Automax, a company manufacturing automobile parts, went on a march in Gurgaon, demanding that casual employees be made permanent employees of the company.”We have been working over a decade as casual employees”, a protester said. “Since other employees’ unions had also agreed to extend their support to us, we stopped outside Hero Honda Scooters and Motorcycle Ltd facility. All of a sudden, the police lathi charged us”. The police claimed they had had to resort to this “mild action” to “defuse a crisis”.

*** Protest by call centre workers against dismissals, December 2007 and March 2008 -
The protests of call centre workers against dismissals and unpaid wages continue. In the case of Voicecraft “as the situation got worse, even the police rushed to the spot and intervened to defuse the crisis”. The protests continue in the immediate spatial vicinity of textile and other factories where manual workers have to face up to the same problems of unpaid wages – but these wage workers are still seemingly miles away from each other when it comes to their (cultural) class background. Nevertheless a situation containing explosive potentials for a completely different kind of working class movement in India…
The first article is from the mainstream press. Workers of Voicekraft Infosole staged a two-hour protest outside the call centre in December 2007. The second article is from Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar, March 2008. A BPO Core worker tells about how the company ripped them off. The company BPO Core also runs a call centre in London, UK

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

*** Village demolition by development authorities for industrial projects, April 2008 -
Under the protection of 100 policemen 50 houses in Gurgaon villages Koh and Kasan were demolished for ‘industrial purposes’. Unfortunately we only heard about it through the official media.

*** Dog restaurant opens in Gurgaon -
This is not about morality or sensation, but about the death-wishing ignorant arrogance of the ruling classes: while food riots spread across the globe and the local food prices in Gurgaon sore they open a dog restaurant right next to slums and industrial areas, a dog non-veg soup for seven times the amount of the food money a textile worker might get after having worked for more than fourteen hours on stretch – if she or he is lucky.

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** German -
On the web-site you can find a structured translation of all Gurgaon Workers Newsletter in German. www.gurgaonworkersnewsgerman.wordpress.com

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

————————————————————-

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

*** Teaching a Lesson -
Short letter sent by a female teacher to Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar beginning of 2008, telling about wage and working time conditions in schools around Delhi/Gurgaon.

“When I read in your newspaper (FMS) that the minimum wage fixed by the Haryana government for industrial helpers is 3,510 Rs per month I was perplexed. Because school teachers don’t get that much money. Many young women like me studied at institutions like NTT or ECCE in order to become teachers. Despite the fact that we have spent quite a lot of money for the studies, the wages we get now are low: they don’t pay more than 800 to 2,500 Rs per month. The 2,500 Rs you will only be paid once you have graduated and have teaching experience. My friends and me have worked in various schools. In the school you work from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm, full eight hours. Apart from the work in the classroom there is more work to do. The daily-weekly-monthly (home-) work and the filling in of the master register. Despite all this the wages are low, which is a fact in all schools. Just have a look:

1. Eros Convent School (NH-3, next to DAV college)
I work from 7 am to 1 pm and get 1000 Rs.

2. MD Convent (NH-5, main Market)
I start working at 7 am and finish at 2 pm, my wage is 600 Rs.

3. Little Child School (NH-5, F-Block)
I teach from 8 am to 1 pm and get 500 Rs per month.

4. Parmar Public School (Sohna Road)
My working times are from 7 am to 5 pm and my monthly wage is 1,800 Rs”.

*** Female textile worker complains about verbal harassment by supervisor at Gaurav International, Gurgaon

A worker who is looking for a job:
“On the 25th of February at about 12:30 noon at Gaurav International factory (Plot 225, Udyog Vihar I) I met a woman who was sitting at the factory gate crying. About 15 to 20 people gathered. She told that because she had objected to the indecent talk of a supervisor she had been kicked out of the factory. Then a management person arrived and said that she should go home and come back to get her money once everyone else is paid. That she should not talk to anyone about the matter, otherwise even the general manager would get to know about it”
(FMS 237, March 2008)

Gaurav International is an Indian garment export house that works with major US companies like GAP & Wal-Mart.
“WITH STATE OF THE ART MANUFACTURING FACILITIES IN UDYOG VIHAR, GURGAON (NEAR DELHI) & HEAD OFFICE IN NEW DELHI, WE PRODUCE WORLD CLASS “NAFABS” BRAND OF NARROW FABRICS FOR GARMENTS, SHOES, HOSIERY, SURGICAL, SPORTS, DRIVING GOGGLES & AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY. OUR “NAFABS” NARROW FABRICS ARE MANUFACTURED ON IMPORTED SWISS & TAIWANESE LOOMS”.
(from the company web-site)

Gaurav International Ltd.
Richa Group Companies
133 , Phase-4, Udyog Vihar
Gurgaon
122001
Haryana

http://www.richagroup.com/group.aspx

*** Yet another long list of short information from workers employed in different companies in Gurgaon

Continuation of short reports (for more see: Gurgaon Workers News no.10). Most of the reports do not show much more than the fact that the official legal working standards are not met (Minimum wage for helpers, 48 hours week: 3,510 Rs). Most of the reports are from textile export factories – they are put at the end of the list – gathered in January and February 2008. Currently a lot of Indian textile companies source certain textile products from China. Some of the Gurgaon companies, as well.

http://www.made-in-china.com

http://www.pennylane.in/contact_us.html

http://www.gurgaonclassified.com/export_house.html

PMP worker
(Plot 185, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The working times are from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm, the overtime is paid six and a half Rs per hour. We do plastic moulding work and steerings for Maruti Suzuki. The helpers get 2,450 Rs and even after three to four years of employment you won’t get ESI or PF.

Rolax worker
(Plot 303, Udyog Vihar Phase II)
The factory runs two 12-hours shifts. Wages are not paid in time and there is verbal abuse happening. The helpers get 2,554 Rs, but they are made to sign 3,510 Rs. The operators get 2,950 and the welders 3,500 Rs.
“Rolax Autos Private Limited specializes in automotive components. The products are mainly tubular and sheet metal components and welded products mitigating the requirements of two and four wheeler industry. Motor cycle and scooter wheel rims are developed in such way that they are able to tolerate heavy duty loads. The decorative parts are plated in the PLC controlled Tri-nickel system. All products have fulfilled client requirements to the maximum”.
(from the company web-site)

Kuru Banks worker
(Plot 199, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
Only 80 to 90 workers are left in the factory. The company has sent 2,000 workers from its five factories in Gurgaon area to the new factory in nearby Manesar. The majority of these workers are hired through contractor. One contractor has vanished after cashing in the PF money of 1,000 workers. The company allowed this to happen. The buyer is told that we work eight hours per shift, but actually we work nine – though the simple problem is that after nine hours we are forced to stay even longer. Every month we are forced to work 150 to 180 hours overtime (overtime is any working hour past 48 hours per week). In order to threaten us the company calls the police inside the factory. The work load is high, so is the work target. Due to being over-worked and being made to stay the whole night – particularly during winter – every year one or two people die from exhaustion. The company does not give any compensation to the families of the dead, small coins are collected from the workers. Over-time is paid at double rate, but the company embezzles 10 to 15 hours each month.

Samast Clothing worker
(Plot 13, Sector 34)
On the 20th of June 2007 the factory was suddenly closed. 500 workers have not been paid their wages yet. The machines have been moved to the Plot 8 factory in Udyog Vihar Phase V. We went there in order to get our wages and complained at the labour department. The Samast Clothing director now runs a washing factory near Shital Mandir, but the labour officers say that they do not have any information about this.

Rangi International worker
(Plot 98, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The thread cutters get 2,500 Rs per month. We work 12-16-20 hours shifts. The overtime is paid at single rate. Rangi has another factory in Okhla, Delhi and got entangled in some excise duty legal mess-up in 2006, an example we will have a look at in one of the future issues of GWN (Rangi International: Athletic Sportswear, Promotions Caps, T-shirts , Sportswear And Accessories, Wear For Women c-58/1 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, NEW DELHI 110020)

Indian Hand Fabs worker
(Plot 92, Unyog Vihar Phase I)
The workers hired through contractors are told that they will be paid 2,700 Rs, but actually they get 2,200 Rs, which also shows on the pay slip.

Standard Global worker
(Plot 235, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The helpers get 2,350 to 3,000 Rs, they work 12 hours shifts.

Radhunik Export worker
(Plot 215, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The casual workers do not get bonus payment and the over-time is paid at single rate. The 200 casuals do not get ESI or PF. Before the buyers come the management reads a text to us telling us what kind of things we have to lie about. We work 13-hours shifts and sometimes have to stay till 2 am.

Export Marketing and Management Agency
(Plot 464, Udyog Vihar Phase V)
150 workers are hired through contractor, they are given neither ESI, nor PF. The helpers’ wage is 2,000 to 2,500 Rs, the checkers get 3,500 Rs.

Krashna Label worker
(Plot 870, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
500 workers are employed through three different contractors. The factory runs nine and a half hour shifts.

Crafty Export worker
(Plot 377, Udyog Vihar Phase II)
They run 10 and a half-hours shifts, the helpers get 3,510 Rs.

Puja Apparels worker
(Plot 158, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
There is verbal abuse from the management. We work from 9:30am to 6pm, but we often are made to stay till 2am.

Bharat Export Overseas worker
(Plot 376, Udyog Vihar Phase II)
The helpers wage is 2,460 RS, the skilled workers get 110 to 115 Rs per day, but both have to sign 3,510 Rs and 150 Rs respectively.

EL India worker
(Plot 402, Udyog Vihar Phase III)
There are 25 permanents, 100 casual workers and 400 workers hired through contractors employed in the factory. The casuals get 3,500 Rs, the helpers through contractors 2,200 Rs. Working time is from 9am to 8:30pm, over-time is paid at single rate.

Kandor worker
(Plot 792, Udyog Vihar Phase V)
The helpers’ wage is 2,500 Rs; sometimes 200 to 400 Rs are cut for ESI and PF. On the documents less attendance is shown than people actually work. Although you have been working you are marked as absent.

Kracha and Company worker
(Plot 239, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The thread cutters – 40 male and 20 female workers – got 3,500 Rs in September and October, but only 2,700 Rs in November. No ESI or PF. There is verbal abuse going on and workers are being threatened with violence.

Kosmo worker
(Plot 864, Udyog Vihar Phase V)
There is ESI and PF, but only for the staff, not for the 1,000 workers of the factory. The helpers get 2,500 to 2,700 Rs, working time from 9:30am to 8pm. The November wages have not been paid yet (19th of December 2007).

Jorji Export worker
(Plot 366, Udyog Vihar Phase III)
There are 25 permanents and 400 workers employed through three different contractors. The helpers’ wage is 2,000 to 2,400 Rs.

Gulati Export worker
(Plot 397, Udyog Vihar Phase III)
The helpers get 2,400 Rs to 2,600 Rs. There are two 12-hours shifts running. Over-time is only being paid at single rate. Even after a seniority of three years no ESI or PF is given. The personnel department asks for 200 to 400 Rs in order to issue an ESI card. There is no canteen. Neither October nor November wages have been paid yet (19th of December 2007)

Spirit Clothing worker
(Plot 549, Udyog Vihar Phase V)
There are 50 permanent workers and 450 workers hired through contractors. The helpers hired through contractors get 2,585 Rs, the checkers 3,200 Rs and the skilled 120 Rs per day.

Spark Overseas worker
(Plot 166, Udyog Vihar Phase I)
The working hours are from 9am to 8pm, but they make you stay till 2am. After 8pm you get 25 Rs for food. The wages are delayed, the November wage has not been paid yet (19th of December 2007). 500 workers do not get ESI or PF.

Pearl Global worker
(Plot 870, Udyog Vihar Phase V)
250 workers are hired through three contractors. No ESI, no PF and the helpers’ wages are 2,000 to 2,200 Rs per month.

Security Guard at Pearl Global
In the seven factories of Pearl Global a total of 100 security guards are employed. We are hired by the company directly. We are given ESI and PF. On the documents we sign that we work on three 8-hours shifts, but actually we work two 12-hours shifts. There is a weekly day off. For a 72-hours week they pay 4,218 Rs per month.

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

*** Wildcat strike by casual workers employed by Eastern Medikit, Gurgaon

Eastern Medikit is a global medical supplier. The Gurgaon plants manufacture medical disposables and blood bags (see web-links below). In FMS 235 a worker reports about the strike of casual workers.
“The 3,000 casual workers employed in the four Eastern Medikit factories in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, stopped working during the night-shift of the 18th of December 2007. The arriving police told us to leave the factory, but we refused to do so. Instead we made our story heard: our November wages had not been paid. The management made us leave the factory building, the whole winter night we spent outside, on the factory premises.
In the Eastern Medikit factories 1,100 permanent workers work 8-hour shifts, but us casuals work on two 12-hour shifts. Before the introduction of the new minimum wage in July the overtime was paid at 15 and a half Rs per hour, this now dropped to 10.5 Rs. The work load is a huge burden: while they give the permanent workers a shift target of 500 pieces, us casuals have to finish 800 to 1,100 pieces. Due to the needles our hands are smeared with blood. The personnel manager abuses us verbally and forces us to stay for 12 hours per shift. Due to being over-worked one worker started to bleed from his mouth, he later died in his room. The company gave no money to the family of the deceased worker. Money for ESI and PF is cut from the wages, but no ESI card or PF form is given. In order to get hired as a casual you have to pay a bribe of 250 Rupees”.

Company web-sites:

http://www.medisourceasia.com/productgallery/eastern_medikit1.htm

http://www.medikit.com/

*** Police attack on striking casual workers at automobile parts manufacturer Automax

Unfortunately we don’t have any first hand reports of the incident yet. The few lines mentioned in the media does not allow us to understand the true roots of the protest. Automax is one of many companies of the Gurgaon Omax Group (http://www.omaxauto.com/history.html).

Agitating workers caned in Gurgaon
GURGAON: Tuesday saw yet another incident of employees of a company in Gurgaon being subject to a lathi charge by the police. The police claimed they had had to resort to this “mild action” to defuse a crisis in the making and disperse the gathering of hundreds of protesters. While the police said only half-a-dozen persons received minor injuries in the incident, the protesters alleged over 50 persons have been injured.
The crisis started on Monday, when some of the workers of Automax, a company manufacturing automobile parts, went on a march in Gurgaon, demanding that casual employees be made permanent employees of the company. “We have been working over a decade as casual employees. We also want our union chief to be transferred back to this facility” a protester said.
“Since other employees’ unions had also agreed to extend their support to us, we stopped outside Hero Honda Scooters and Motorcycle Ltd facility. All of a sudden, the police lathi charged us,” said a protester.
While protesters alleged that the police have picked up over 50 of them, police officials said that about 30 persons have been arrested. “Three police officials have also received minor injuries,” said a senior police officer. However, the protesters said that their colleagues have been injured seriously and many were suffering with fractures. Over 500 policemen were deployed to avoid any crisis, police officials said. Keeping in mind the possibility of a recurrence of the incident, police commissioner Mahendra Lal decided that the force would remain there for the time being.
(16 Apr 2008, 0223 hrs IST,TNN)

Some notes indicate a traditional protest about union recognition:

“The police rounded up around 30 workers and union leaders. The trouble began when union leaders, addressing the meeting of the agitating workers near the Honda industrial unit at the IMT here, gave a call to stage a protest in front of their firm’s another unit in Sector 3, Gurgaon. The workers were agitating against the “vindictive policy” of the management, alleging that it was deliberately creating hurdles to the registration of the workers’ union at Automax. They were also up in arms against the alleged unjustified transfer of their leaders as part of the management’s plan of curbing their democratic right of forming a union”.
(India Tribune News Service, 16th of April 2008)

Others mention the attempt to connect the protest with other workers in Gurgaon, Manesar:

“The Gurgaon administration on Tuesday averted the reoccurrence of the 2005 Honda-type episode on Tuesday when over 500 workers of an auto component company marched aggressively along the NH-8, shouted slogans and tried to persuade workers of another auto giant to join their agitation. “The workers, demanding reinstatement of some of their ousted colleagues, wanted to give memorandum to me today. But on their way along NH-8, all of them suddenly turned towards IMT Manesar and gathered in front of the Honda Scooters & Motorcycle Limited (HSML). They tried to instigate the Honda workers to join their agitation,” Gupta said”.
(Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon, April 16, 2008)

Situation is “officially” back to normal one day after the protest:

“Situation back to normal at Automax plant
The situation at auto parts manufacturing company Automax in Binola village of Gurgaon district has returned back to normalcy and all the agitating labourers today returned to work. Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Gupta said after intervention of the district administration, the labourers and management has given undertakings to help bring the situation to normalcy. The labourers have given an undertaking that they will not create any hindrance in the work of the company and will observe peace. On the other hand, the Automax management has given undertaking that they will not punish any worker out of vengeance. The situation in Honda, Hero Honda and other companies at Manesar is also normal and all the labourers in these companies were on job, the DC said.
(Chandigarh | Wednesday, Apr 16 2008 IST //news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20080416/93369)

*** Protest by call centre workers against dismissals

The protests of call centre workers against dismissals and unpaid wages continue. They continue in the immediate spatial vicinity of the textile factories where manual workers have to face up to the same problem – but these wage workers are still seemingly miles away from each other when it comes to their (cultural) class background. Nevertheless a situation containing explosive potentials for a completely different kind of working class movement in India…
The first article is from the mainstream press. Workers of Voicekraft Infosole staged a two-hour protest outside the call centre in December 2007. The second article is from Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar, March 2008. A BPO Core worker tells about how the company ripped them off. The company BPO Core also runs a call centre in London, UK. Dismissals of young workers at one of Gurgaon’s biggest call centers Sapient, as well.

BPO staffers hold protest
7 Dec 2007, (Times of India)
GURGAON: While Gurgaon has emerged as a success story with its concentration of bustling BPO offices, small call centres sacking their employees and refusing salary payments has started sullying the industry’s name. In fact, on chilly Wednesday night, about 35 voice call executives, including women, had to stage a noisy two-hour-long protest outside their call centre office in Udyog Vihar, Phase V, demanding their salary.
As the situation got worse, even the police rushed to the spot and intervened to defuse the crisis. According to the executives of Voicekraft Infosole, they were suddenly dismissed from their services after they reached office on Wednesday. “They called us and said that we did not meet their expectations and hence we were sacked. But this seemed to be a well-conceived move by the company since the date of paying the salary was approaching. We worked all these days to get the salary and now we have to pay rent. Where will we stay, if we are thrown out of our rented accommodation?” asked one of the employees. All those who have been sacked, including women, were told to make their own transport arrangement to return home.
Finally, they called up the local police and in their presence a fleet of cabs took these employees home around 1.30 am. After the police intervened, the BPO promised that they would hand over salary cheques to the sacked employees by 5 pm on Thursday. But till late Thursday night, over 50% of them said that the promise was not kept.
Piyush, a partner of this BPO said: “All of them have not yet got the employment letter from the company. They have got the intent letter and the condition clearly says they would be employed only when they are deemed professionally fit. When they can’t work for outbound business, how can we keep them?”

CORE BPO worker
(Plot 238, Udyog Vihar Phase IV)
We are 600 workers. CORE BPO hired space from DIGITAL SYNERGY (on a per seat basis). We had vacation from 21 Dec to 1 Jan. On 1 Jan, we heard that Mrs Rashmi Jain of DIGITAL SYNERGY had got the building locked and had left with the keys.
There were guards of SLV company for Digital and of Group Four from Core. On 1st Jan 30-35 SLV guards and 40-45 Group four guards were there. Nobody was being allowed in, but the Core GM had somehow entered and was locked in. He was calling people on phone. At 3.30 at night he was brought out on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. Rashmi Jain was said to be related to a union minister.
On 7 Jan CORE called us workers for a meeting – they said the whole thing will take some time to be resolved and asked us to find other jobs in the meanwhile. They promised that the Dec pay will be deposited in our bank accounts. But till 25 Feb. no payment was made. Now bosses say it’s difficult to get salaries, jobs are gone.

Regional office : CORE BPO (ind) pvt ltd. 815-816
International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi-
110019.

Head office:
CORE BPO Ltd.
16-19 Southampton Place
Holborn
London WC1A 2AJ
UK
http://www.corebpo.com

Similar situation at one of Gurgaon’s biggest call centers:

Gurgaon: Sapient sacks 160 juniors
Sapient Corp, the US-based business and technology services consultant, said its Indian business has “exited a small number” of junior and entry level employees not suited for its current operations.
The 160 employees, who constituted 4% of its Indian workforce of 4,000, were “asked to resign”. Some were designated associate technology level 1 and others were associate quality assurance employees.
The source, who was one of the employees sacked, said the management’s decision came “out of the blue”.
“They sent a mail asking us to meet them for our next assignment… and then they informed us about the situation…which was not expected,” the source said. The fired employees were asked to leave immediately and relieved without notice. However, the company assured them they would receive severance packages and help in getting another job.
9th of May 2008, DNA MONEY

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

*** Village demolition by development authorities for industrial projects, April 2008 -

Under the protection of 100 policemen 50 houses in Gurgaon villages Koh and Kasan were demolished for ‘industrial purposes’. Unfortunately we only heard about it through the official media.
HSIIDC Justifies Demolition Exercise In Koh & Kasna
The authorities of the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) today justified the demolition exercise carried out in Koh and Kasan villages as legally valid even as the affected persons protested against it. The demolition squad involving around 100 policemen and two JCB machines descended on these villages in the afternoon yesterday and demolished around 45-50 houses and temporary sheds belonging to villagers in a four-hour operation. Sarpanch of Koh village Rohtash Singh claimed that they were not given any prior information about it. The action followed rejection of a writ petition filed by the affected persons even as they said a review application was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The land in question, measuring 162 acres, has been acquired by the HSIIDC for industrial purpose. The villagers who had built houses on this land were informed in writing through the sarpanch of Koh village to vacate it before April 15. Around 300 villagers today approached Gurgaon DC Rakesh Gupta who told them to see him on Monday.
(Source: Tribune, 19/04/08)

*** Dog restaurant opens in Gurgaon -
This is not about morality or sensation, but about the death-wishing ignorant arrogance of the ruling classes: while food riots spread across the globe and the local food prices in Gurgaon sore they open a dog restaurant right next to slums and industrial areas, a dog non-veg soup for seven times the amount of the food money a textile worker might get after having worked for more than fourteen hours on stretch – if she or he is lucky.

http://letsrambleon.blogspot.com/2008/02/doggie-restaurant-in-gurgaon-india.html

Soups: Rs 75 (veg) and Rs 175 (non veg)

4) About the Project -
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** German -
On the web-site you can find a structured translation of all Gurgaon Workers Newsletter in German. www.gurgaonworkersnewsgerman.wordpress.com

*** 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, and 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 = 42 Rs May 2008
1 Euro = 65 Rs May 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 apprenticeship 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 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 prove 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 enables 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 rickshaw-driver in Delhi earns 2,000 Rs for a 70 hour week, which is about the average normal worker’s wage, we have to bear in mind that they often came from West Bengal, Bihar or other remote place in order to get this job. In order to put 2,000 Rs into a daily context here are some prices of goods and services:

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Responses to “GurgaonWorkersNews no.9/11”


  1. i want information about khushi,,now she is dead.she was working in this firm on 2007..she was from faridabab n she was a panjabi girl.


  2. Waho,Very nice blog and gud information , I do bookmarking this and share my fb


  3. Thanks for posting all of this info. Very long read, sorry I couldn’t get through it all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 177 other followers

%d bloggers like this: