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Gurgaon Workers News – Newsletter 14 (November 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 November issue you can find:

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

*** Short Reports from Workers employed in factories in Gurgaon and Faridabad
The workers told their stories to Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar (Faridabad Workers’ News), they were published and re-distributed in the industrial areas in August 2008. At least three of the workers employed in the textile export industry report that numbers of workers have dropped to a third of the previous level and that wages are heavily delayed. Particularly the story of the workers employed by the multinational shoe-manufacturer Bata is revealing. The workers are employed by:

Bata (shoes)
DS Buhin (automobile)
Eastern Medikit (medical equipment)
Gaurav International (textile)
Grafty Export (textile)
Hari Om Precision Tools (machine manufacturing)
Kanchan International (textile)
KRF
Lara Export (textile)
Neolight
Premium Security
Sanden Vikas (automobile)
Spark (textile)
SPL Industries (textile)
Sundari Export (textile)

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

*** Yet another short wildcat strike at Hero Honda plant
After a short strike at Hero Honda plant in Dharuhera plant in May 2008 and a wildcat sit-down by casual workers at Honda (HMSI) plant in Gurgaon/Manesar in September 2008, the news reported about another action early October 2008. It would be important to know more about the impact of the current slump in automobile production in India on these casual workers and their permanent struggles, given that e.g. Tata announced lay-offs of 700 workers hired through contractors at its truck plant and nearly all two-wheeler manufacturers complain about a decrease in sales this autumn.

*** Different view on the strike and killing of the factory manager at Italian automobile supplier in NOIDA
In GurgaonWorkersNews no.13 we summarised some first news items on the workers’ struggle related death of the factory manager at Graziano Transmissioni (auto parts supplier) in NOIDA, Delhi. Since then more thorough stuff has been written on the matter. First some notes about the similarity between the incident at Graziano and the police attack on Honda HMSI workers in Gurgaon in 2005 showing that workers will have to find new ways of struggle which do not focus on ‘leaders’ and which won’t result in them being expelled, replaced and finally victimised. Secondly a chronological summary based on two main-stream media articles.

*** BPO union or another form of individualisation of call center workers
Call Centres workers are under increasing attack due to the US recession, e.g. early November 2008 American Express announced to lay-off 150 workers employed in the Gurgaon call center. Apart from actual lay offs there are other crisis related cuts going on, such as cancelled taxi service, cuts in wages or abolishment of free food offers. There haven’t been many collective actions by call center workers during it’s boom time, it will show whether they will manage to act up against job and wage cuts collectively. We document a non-collective form of conflict management in the form of the ‘BPO Union’ – a kind of online-initiative which acts on behalf of call center workers also in Gurgaon area, e.g. at IBM Daksh or Evalueserve.

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

*** Global crisis hits Gurgaon
Gurgaon, the global crisis hits on all fronts: in call centers and IT offices the jobs of ‘Shining India’ are cut and pillars of the major real estate and development projects shake, e.g. of India’s biggest shopping mall and biggest Special Export Zone; only few months after several peasants were shot dead in NOIDA as a result of the struggle over SEZ land compensation, now these SEZ’s in NOIDA and Gurgaon are for sale! The textile export industry faces major mass lay-offs and the gears of the local automobile industry crunch. We summarised some newspaper articles from mid-November 2008. The question will be whether state and employers will manage to push the laid off workers back to where they came from – the impoverished parts of Bihar, West Bengal and UP – or whether workers will build strong enough ties amongst themselves in order to stay and reclaim the immense wealth and productive forces which became reason for their mass misery.

*** Never use a needle, summary of study on local textile export industries
In the last issues of GurgaonWorkersNews we published various short reports of workers employed in the local textile export industry. Currently the textile workers in India are threatened with mass lay offs due to the world recession. In the following we summarise a long study on the very same industry, first published in March 2007, in collaboration between ‘United Students against Sweatshops’, ‘Jobs with Justice’ and ‘Society for Labour and Development’.

The study focus on six major export manufacturers:
-Modelama Exports Ltd.,
-Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd.,
-Pearl Global Ltd., -Company G of Group R,
-Orient Crafts Ltd.,
-M/S Jyoti Apparels -

Most of them are still active in the Gurgaon area, as you can read in the workers’ reports. The researchers interviewed company representatives of the upper management and in result got some valuable insight about:
-The view of the management on the global and Indian textile market after the end of the trade quota in 2005
-The relation-ship between textile manufacturers and the US and European clients, e.g. Wal Mart
-The break down of production costs and profits
-The increased use of machinery within the apparel sector
-The work-force distribution amongst the different production departments and the wage and gender hierarchy

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.

—————————————————–

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

*** Short Reports from Workers employed in factories in Gurgaon and Faridabad
The workers told their stories to Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar (Faridabad Workers’ News), they were published and re-distributed in the industrial areas in August 2008. At least three of the workers employed in the textile export industry report that numbers of workers have dropped to a third of the previous level and that wages are heavily delayed. Particularly the story of the workers employed by the multinational shoe-manufacturer Bata is revealing. The workers are employed by:

Bata (shoes)
DS Buhin (automobile)
Eastern Medikit (medical equipment)
Gaurav International (textile)
Grafty Export (textile)
Hari Om Precision Tools (machine manufacturing)
Kanchan International (textile)
KRF
Lara Export (textile)
Neolight
Premium Security
Sanden Vikas (automobile)
Spark (textile)
SPL Industries (textile)
Sundari Export (textile)

In nearly all cases the minimum wage for industrial helpers of 3,510 Rs is not paid. If it is paid, then the working-times are way beyond the fixed 8-hours day and 6-days week. In most cases the over-time exceeds the legal restriction – maximum 50 hours in three months – and is paid at single rate, though according to the labour law it should be paid double. Hardly any workers receive the Provident Fund, a kind of unemployment money / pension that both workers and capitalists pay for, nor do they get ESI, medical insurance, which they are entitled to as per law.

Bata Worker
In a rush the company kicked out 130 to 135 permanent workers. In their confusion some of the workers who got the sack pleaded to take the sack back and expressed their sorrow. All this happened in exactly that Bata factory where over the last 20 to 25 years despite many cunning tricks the company never managed to kick out a bigger group of workers at one go. Previously the Bata management had come to several agreements with the union in order to facilitate the dismissals, they replaced the semi-automatic lines with automatic-lines, the started Voluntary Retirement Schemes, the organised an eight months lock-out, they opened a new company, to which it ‘sold’ this factory… but up to today the Bata workers managed to cut each noose which got laid around heir necks. It was this extraordinary resistance of the workers which forced the company to dismantle the automatic lines again and to re-install the semi-automatic ones. ‘Soft redundancies’ were the companies policy, e.g. by not replacing retired workers with new ones or by outsourcing more and more work to other companies. Trucks arrived at the Bata factory with shoes and sandals which had been packed by other companies, from there they went straight to the ware-house. In this situation of being cornered from all sides the permanent worker’ position got weakened. Today all permanent workers are immensely frightened and worried. In order to aggravate these sentiments the company announced that the production of air sandals will be stopped due to decreasing sales. The three lines for the air sandals were closed. The presses for soles and sheets were closed, so were the material preparing mixers and rollers. All workers were sent to the shoe manufacturing lines. There 2-3-4 times more workers than necessary were standing around (till today the company had sent the workers of the shoe departments to the sandal department, once there was a slump in sales). And again the management announced a voluntary retirement scheme. In order to make them make workers sign the scheme the management gave money to the foremen. In all the fear and confusion some workers were given alcohol to drink, the foremen then took them to the personnel manager. The voluntary retirement scheme had been running for two weeks, it was then extended by another week and in those ways mentioned above 135 workers lost their job – today there are less than 350 permanents left in this factory. Since then the mixers and rollers are in use again – 50 workers hired through contractors have been taken on. There is an announcement that the air sandal lines will be running soon again.

http://www.bata.com/us/

DS Buhin Worker
(Plot 88, sector 24)
DS Buhin factory in Faridabad manufactures hinges for Maruti Suzuki car plant in Gurgaon. In the factory there are 22 permanent workers and 200 casuals and workers hired through contractors, working on two 12-hours shifts. All helpers, either casual or through contractor get 2,400 Rs. The operators get 2,800 to 3,000 Rs.
http://www.dsbuhin.com/

Eastern Medikit Worker
(Plot 195, 196, 205, 206, 207, Udyog Vihar Phase-1, Plot 292 Phase-2)
Us casual workers we have to work on two 12-hours shifts. Some of us got the wages for June paid on 24th of July, which is already late. The rest of us got 1,000 Rs as an ‘advance’ and we were told that the rest would be paid by the 30th of July. The 76 Rs dearness allowance (inflation compensation) which we were entitled to from beginning of January we were not paid either. Instead of paying double rate for the over-time we only get 13 to 14 Rs per hour. And the over-time payment for June hasn’t been paid yet, today it’s the 29th of July. The food in the canteen is bad. If you have a coupon you get a plate for 8 Rs, but us casual workers have difficulties obtaining such coupons, without it you have to pay 17 Rs. If the guys from the personnel department find you standing outside the canteen during lunch breaks they abuse you – marpith par utaar aate hai. If you complain about the wage / over-time / food / heavy work-load in front of the big and small bosses they will sack you and pay your wage four month later. If you complete six months of employment you get the sack automatically. Us casual workers don’t get pension, but money is cut from our wages in the name of Bhavishya Nidhi Sangathan (pension fund).
http://www.medikit.com

Gaurav International Worker
(Plot 198, 208, 225, Udyog Vihar Phase-1)
The company used to pay double rate, but since June only the first two daily hours over-time are paid double. The company forces us to work from 9 am till 11:30 pm, on Sundays we work eight hours. If you refuse the over-time they say: ‘Don’t come tomorrow then, take your leaving papers’. Even if they force you to stay 14 and a half hours they won’t give you any food money.
http://www.tradekey.com/profile_view/uid/66647/GAURAV-INTERNATIONAL.htm

Grafty Export Worker
(Plot 377, Udyog Vihar Phase-2)
There used to be 400 workers employed in this factory, but nowadays there are only 100 of us. The helpers who are directly hired by Gaurav get 3,510 Rs per month, but they work ten instead of the legally fixed eight hours for this money. The skilled workers get 3,640 for the same amount of daily hours. The helpers hired through contractors get 2,800 to 2,900 Rs, the pressmen get 3,000 to 3,200. There is no PF or ESI.

Hari Om Precision Worker
(20 Industrial Area, Dhandha Complex)
In the factory eight female workers and 30 male workers are employed. The two or three women who operate the power press get 2,400 to 2,500 Rs the other get 1,900 to 2,000. The male workers get 2,000 to 2,400 and the operators 2,800 to 3,000. Ten workers get ESI, no one gets PF. There are frequent accidents – In May a work mate lost his two thumbs, another worker who had lost three fingers previously also lost his thumb. In the factory there are 14 power presses, but only three fans – the workers are soaked in sweat from morning till night. If you mention this to the sahibs (small or big bosses) you get the answer: ‘Then leave and go where you find fans’. For the female and male workers there is only one toilet, which is often floated with dirty water. Working-time is from 8:30 am till 9 pm. If there is less work, they send you home at 7 pm, they never give tea or snacks. Over-time is paid at single rate.

http://hpalcastings.com/customers.htm

Kanchan International Worker
(Plot 872, Udyog Vihar Phase-5)
We used to be 150 workers, now 40 to 50 are left. Those who are on a wage contract haven’t been paid the April, May and June wages yet, and now it’s the 29th of July. The stitching workers are paid at piece rate, normally each week, from Saturday to Saturday, but they haven’t been paid since eight weeks. The land-lord troubles you and the ration guy from the local shop, but the company says: do your work and don’t demand money… if you would, you have to face being beaten. If you leave the job the company forbids you to ask for your leaving document and last wage slip.
http://www.apparelandfashion.in/KANCHANE454.htm

KRF Worker
(Plot 403, Udyog Vihar Phase-3)
The helpers get 1,900 Rs and the skilled workers 2,500 to 6,000 Rs. There are two 12-hours shifts, the over-time is paid at single rate. There are 400 to 500 workers employed, but only 100 to 200 get ESI and PF. There is no canteen and the company doesn’t give a single cup of tee during the twelve hours. Instead the bosses abuse us verbally.

Lara Export Worker
(Plot 155, Udyog Vihar Phase-1)
In the factory 250 workers are employed, but only ten to eleven workers get ESI or PF. Even after three of four years of employment they won’t give it.

Premium Security Worker
(Company office is in Piragarhi, Delhi)
The company forces us to work 12-hours shifts, we don’t get a weekly day off. The wage is 4,500 Rs, but we don’t get ESI or PF before having completed three month of employment.

Neolight Worker
(Plot 396, Udyog Vihar Phase-3)
We work from 9 am till 9 pm. There are 50 to 60 workers directly hired by the company and 350 through two different contractors. The workers hired through contractors get the minimum wage, but the over-time is paid only 10 Rs per hour

Sanden Vikas Worker
(Plot 65, Sector 27 A)
In the factory 600 workers are employed through three different contractors, there are 65 permanent workers and no casuals. To the June wages 50 Rs inflation compensation was added, though according to the official allowance it should have been 76 Rs. The dearness allowance hasn’t been paid either. Since 1st of June we are supposed to pay 35 Rs for a plate of food in the canteen, previously it was only 15 Rs. The permanents now pay 10 Rs, the price has been 5 Rs. The permanents wage is 12,000 to 18,000 Rs, while us helpers wage was 3,560 in June and the ITI workers get 3,820. In the Sanden factory you have to stand continuously while working. Those who start at 6:30 am normally work till 7 pm. Those who start at 9 am work till 9:30 or 10:30 pm, the late shift starts at 3 pm and stays till 4:30 am or even 6:30 am the next day. We work 150 hours over-time per month, paid at single rate. Even if you work 15 hours they won’t give you money for food. We are given work uniforms, but no shoes, but without shoes you are not allowed to enter the factory. Even after two years of employment with the contractor ‘Superior Company’ they won’t give you an ESI card and they won’t fill out the PF form when the job is finished.
http://www.sandenvikas.com/#

Spark Worker
(Plot 166, Udyog Vihar Phase-1)
The June wages have been paid delayed on 29th of July, the June over-time payment hasn’t been paid yet. having started work at 9 am we are forced to stay till 8 pm or even 2 am. We work 200 hours over-time each month, the payment is at single rate. In the factory about 1,000 workers are employed, but only 10 to 15 get ESI or PF.

SPL Industries Worker
(Plot 22, Sector-6)
In the plant there are 320 workers hired through a single contractor working at eight different lines. We work twelve hours a day. Us helpers get 2,600 to 2,800 Rs, over-time at single rate. The stitchers are paid by piece, the contractor drops the piece rate continuously. In the companies documents it shows that the contractor gets 5 Rs per piece from the company while he pays the workers only 2.5 Rs. The wages are always delayed, the June wages haven’t been paid yet, on 18th of July. Money for ESI and PF is cut from the wages, but only ten per cent of the workers got an ESI card after having had to struggle over it for a long time.
http://www.spllimited.com/

Sundari Apparel Worker
(Plot 643, Udyog Vihar Phase-5)
Those 350 workers sewing coats and pants don’t get ESI or PF, may be the staff gets it, but I don’t know. The helpers get 2,500 Rs and the skilled between 3,500 and 4,300 Rs. Working times are from 9:30 am till 8:30 pm, over-time is paid at single rate.
http://www.easy2source.com/supplier/239/119354/

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

*** Yet another short wildcat strike at Hero Honda plant

After a short strike at Hero Honda plant in Dharuhera plant in May 2008 and a wildcat sit-down by casual workers at Honda (HMSI) plant in Gurgaon/Manesar in September 2008, the news reported about another action early October 2008. It would be important to know more about the impact of the current slump in automobile production in India on these casual workers and their struggles, given that e.g. Tata announced lay-offs of 700 workers hired through contractors at its truck plant. The two-wheeler manufacturers complained about a decrease in sales this autumn and the out-look seems bleak: The Indian two-wheeler industry is likely to witness a 10 per cent reduction in sales volume next year, given the tight market conditions and the slowdown in the economy. While there will not be any fresh employment, the TVS CEO ruled out any reduction in the permanent workforce, adding: “There may be some contraction in the temporary workforce”. On average the temporary workers account for more than half of the total work-force!

3rd of May 2008
Hero Honda has been hit by a workers’ strike, forcing the closure of its manufacturing unit at Daruhera, in Haryana. Work has stopped at the factory since today morning, after a strike broke out – the issue being that Hero Honda management discontinued services of about 50 contract workers. These workers had, apparently, not agreed to be shifted from one production line to another. According to some reports, Hero Honda workers have been opposing the company’s move to shift a large part of its production to its newly opened plant at Haridwar, where the company plans to produce its high volume models.

14th of October 2008
After shutting down its Dharuhera plant on Monday due to strike by workers, the country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero Honda on Tuesday said production resumed at the unit, though some of the casual employees continued to stay way from work.
Worker sources, however, said only the permanent employees had reported for work from this morning. “Out of a total of about 4,500 workers, about 3,000 casual and contractual workers are still on strike since Sunday and we will not withdraw till our demands are met,” casual workers added. They are demanding regularisation of casual and contractual employees, wages to be paid under Haryana government norms and reinstatement of suspended workers. The workers claimed casual employees were given a basic salary of Rs 3,500 against the Haryana government norm of Rs 4,200 per month. The Dharuhera plant has a production capacity of about 5,000 units per day. The strike has come at a time when the company needs to go on full steam production to meet the festive season demands.

*** BPO union or another form of individualisation of call center workers

Call Centres workers are under increasing attack due to the US recession, e.g. early November 2008 American Express announced to lay-off 150 workers employed in the Gurgaon call center. Apart from actual lay offs like there are other crisis attacks going on, such as cancelled taxi service, cuts in wages or abolishment of free food offers. On the other hand the main companies still seem eager to keep a strong back-bone of their work-force, e.g. when the telecommunication giant Orange cancelled the contracts with the call center service providers EXL and 24/7 Customer this summer they gave the order to Convergys and IBM Daksh (Gurgaon). Instead of hiring a completely new wiork-force for these projects they tried to re-hire all employees who did these jobs previously with EXL etc., hoping to save training money. There haven’t been many collective actions by call center workers during it’s boom time, it will show whether they will manage to act up against job and wage cuts collectively. We document a non-collective form of conflict management in the form of the ‘BPO Union’ – a kind of online-initiative which acts on behalf of call center workers.

The BPO union mainly works as a web-site. Call center workers can complain about their problems, e.g. unfair dismissal or unpaid over-time. The ‘union’ then steps in, writes complain letters to the management or the labour commissioner. In some cases the web-site is actually used for discussions, e.g. in the case of the Gurgaon based call centers IBM Daksh and Evalueserve. The focus should be on these attempts to facilitate a debate between employees in the area. If you want to read more about working conditions at Evalueserve or the BPO Union have a look at:

http://www.prol-position.net/nl/2006/07/delhi

http://bpounion.wordpress.com

*** Different view on the strike and killing of the factory manager at Italian automobile supplier in NOIDA

In GurgaonWorkersNews no.13 we summarised some first news items on the workers’ struggle related death of the factory manager at Graziano Transmissioni (auto parts supplier) in NOIDA, Delhi. Since then more thorough stuff has been written on the matter. First some notes about the similarity between the incident at Graziano and the police attack on Honda HMSI workers in Gurgaon in 2005. Secondly a chronological summary based on two main-stream media articles, meaning that our assumptions are still more than speculative. Another summary providing an update on the legal repression against the workers can be found here:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/nov2008/indi-n17.shtml

The more thorough articles on the killing of a factory manager in NOIDA state that the workers in struggle had been permanent workers, not casual workers or workers hired through contractors. Reading these articles we are reminded of the police attack on the Honda HMSI workers in nearby Gurgaon in 2005 – see GurgaonWorkersNews no.7. There are very blatant similarities showing that workers will have to find new ways of struggle which do not focus on ‘leaders’ and which won’t result in them being expelled, replaced and finally victimised:

* Like HMSI it is a multinational automobile company, Graziano Transmissioni manufactures parts for the Italian and US car industry.
* There hasn’t been a union inside the plant, in case of GT for ten years. The permanent workers complain about hiring and firing policies and arbitrary behaviour from the management. Workers hope to improve their condition by forming an official union, they approach the AITUC.
* The company and state try to delay the union formation, the company reacts with carrot and sticks: a wage increase in January 2008 and dismissals of trainees shortly after – just like in the case of HMSI.
* Workers first react with direct action, e.g. a slow-down strike. There are some conflicts behind the scene between workers and union, leading to the workers shifting first from AITUC to CITU, finally to the HMS.
* The company first dismisses some ‘leaders’, the conflict then focusses around the issue of re-installment of these ‘representatives’.
* After it became clear that the sacking of the ‘leaders’ didn’t lead to an end of unrest the company locked out the bulk of permanent workers and replaced them with 400 workers hired through contractors.
* The locked-out workers get desperate, the company wants to individualise them by allowing only small groups of workers inside the plant and only under the condition that they sign a paper of good conduct. On their own accord or under the pressure of the union, the workers refuse to sign these papers.
* The situation escalates: a manager is killed, dozens of workers are injured, over 60 are in prison facing murder charges.
* Like during the HMSI conflict there was a potential danger of affecting and instigating workers in the surrounding industrial plants. Quote from an article: “Fear pervades all of Surajpur in Greater Noida and every little factory in the vicinity of Graziano,” says Atul Ghildyal, president Association of Greater Noida Industries (AGNI). Ghildyal is HR head at New Holland Tractors located right next to Graziano.
* After the conflict the work-force at GT is re-composed: a much higher share of temporary workers. Quote from an article: “Labour officials say the company did not appear keen to resolve the issue as its production improved by 30 per cent thanks to substitute workers who were hired to replace the “locked-out” and sacked employees. Its monthly revenue grew from Rs 26 crore to Rs 34 crore. Clearly, there was no economic compulsion to negotiate a settlement in a hurry. (…) All the same, the company could reopen the factory within a week of the tragedy largely on the strength of contract workers who had been recruited earlier in the year to make up for the sudden drop in productivity from permanent employee”.

Chronology

November 2007: Workers initiate the abortive process of unionization at Graziano Transmissioni India, an automotive component plant set up in Greater Noida in 1998. They claim that 1,200 people had been fired in the last few years. The wages were poor and company policy on taking leave outright unfriendly.

December 2007: A flash strike as the management refused to reinstate an employee who resigned. Worker representatives submit a demand letter for, among other things, higher wages

January 2008: On January 24, the company signed a new Internal Labour Contract with all the workers, leaders/representatives and with the external union AITUC (All India Trade Union Congress) and registered it with the labour department. The agreement is valid for three years. The management agrees to a substantial pay hike in return for a commitment to good conduct from workers.

February 2008: Disruptions don’t stop despite the pay hike, management begins recruiting contract workers as substitutes.

March 2008: Following differences, worker representatives switch allegiance from AITUC to CITU.

May 2008: On the 12th of May worker representatives organize a fresh go-slow strike protesting the decision to not offer regular employment to five out of 70 trainees. Since the strike continued despite the intervention of the labour department, the management suspended 27 workers a week later on 19th of May on the charge of “serious misconduct”. Violence continued and the assistant labour commissioner, labour enforcement officer and the management decided to “lock-out” another 30 workers.

June 2008: Strike takes a violent turn as workers vandalize company property and injure some contract workers. The management locks out 65 employees. Worker representatives develop differences with CITU and again switch allegiance, this time to HMS

July 2008: Since they fail to report for work after a government-brokered pact, the management locks out 190 more employees. Under the settlement brokered by the labour department on 8th of July, the locked out workers were then being re-inducted in three phases. In the meantime the company issues an inquiry on the question of the suspended workers. It was as a result of this inquiry against the 27 suspended employees that, two months later on 15th of July, the management terminated the services of 15 of them while reinstating the rest. While the reinstated members resumed duty the next day, the striking/locked-out workers demanded that the terminated ones should also be taken back. Their justification, according to Sirohi, was that the terminated employees happened to be the ones leading the strike. Though the lockout was due to be lifted in the second phase for a batch of 55 workers on 21st of July 21, none of them reported for duty on that day as an expression of solidarity with the 15 terminated employees.

August 2008: Negotiations break down as the management objects to the idea of terminated employees representing workers. In the subsequent talks on 6th of August, it was the turn of the management to walk out as the terminated employees insisted that they would continue to represent the workers.

September 2008: As the stalemate dragged on for another month, the management returned to negotiations and on 16th of September, the factory manager offered in the presence of labour official and union leader that, other than the 15 terminated employees, he would take back all those locked out workers if they gave individual undertakings to maintain discipline and productivity. The deadline fixed for such applications was the 22nd of September. The offer gets a poor response as the 15 terminated employees are opposed to it. The company claims that till 12 noon on 22nd of September only eight applications had come in. According to ‘official sources’, at 12.45 pm, a 120-strong group of sacked and locked-out employees forcibly entered the plant, attacked management and workshop staff and destroyed offices and employees’ cars. The factory manager gets killed. The workers’ version is obviously at variance. They state that the company was rejecting their applications and only eight were accepted. Two, in their apology letter, were being forced to own up to offences they had never committed. “Hired goons were bullying us to sign. A scuffle followed and the security guard fired in the air whereby those waiting outside rushed in,” says a worker.

Sources
4th of October – Business Standard
6th of October – Times of india

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

*** Global crisis hits Gurgaon

Gurgaon, the global crisis hits on all fronts: in call centers and IT offices the jobs of ‘Shining India’ are cut and pillars of the major real estate and development projects shake, e.g. of India’s biggest shopping mall and biggest Special Export Zone; only few months after several peasants were shot dead in NOIDA as a result of the struggle over SEZ land compensation, now these SEZ’s in NOIDA and Gurgaon are for sale! The textile export industry face major mass lay-offs and the gears of the local automobile industry crunch. We summarised some newspaper articles from mid-November 2008. The question will be whether state and employers will manage to push the laid off workers back to where they came from – the impoverished parts of Bihar, West Bengal and UP – or whether workers will build strong enough ties amongst themselves in order to stay and reclaim the immense wealth and productive forces which became reason for their mass misery.

* DLF puts Mall of India on hold as rentals slip
India’s largest real estate developer, DLF, has put on hold construction of one of the most high-profile mall projects, ‘Mall of India’, at Gurgaon, as retail rentals fall and cash becomes precious. The proposed venture was set to be the country’s largest mall, with around 4.5-million sqft space. Till a few months ago, several workers could be seen at the project site and excavation work was in progress. Now, there is hardly any activity on the site, clearly indicating that company has slowed down the pace of the project. The ‘Mall of India’ was scheduled to be launched by 2010-end. A DLF executive admitted the project may get pushed to the middle of 2011. “There are several projects where developers have not begun construction, or have stopped construction after having done excavation work. In some cases, the proposed malls are being converted into office space, partly or completely,” says Cushman & Wakefield director (retail) Rajneesh Mahajan. According to Cushman & Wakefield, retail rentals fell by up to 20% in several markets in July-September quarter, compared to the previous quarter.
(11th of November 2008 – Economic Times)

* Export Slump: The peasants blood-stains still on NOIDA’s streets, now SEZ’s for sale
The plans of Reliance Industries Ltd, or RIL, India’s biggest private sector company by market capitalization, to set up special economic zones, or SEZs, at Jhajjar and Gurgaon in Haryana may slow due to the global financial meltdown and a fall in demand for such projects. An executive at RIL’s external public relations agency, however, said that work on the SEZs had not begun. A senior RIL executive said the project was going slow and blamed the current business environment, which he described as “bad in all areas”. The Haryana SEZs are expected to require an investment of Rs25,000 crore and have provisions for a cargo airport and a 2,000MW power plant. “A significant profit for the organization (RIL) is from polymers for which the rates have gone down” the RIL executive asked. After Reliance, other SEZ developers followed. The country’s largest real estate developer DLF is looking for a buyer for its 10-hectare IT SEZ in Noida – ten peasants were shot dead on a demonstration for higher compensation for land sold for a NOIDA SEZ, only a few months ago! Three more developers are seeking to sell their IT SEZ projects in Noida and Gurgaon. One notified IT SEZ project, looking for a buyer, is located on the Sohna Road in Gurgaon.
(10th of November 2008 – LiveMint)

* Credit Crunch: National Highway Construction in Gurgaon delayed
India’s ambitious plans of developing and upgrading highways could further be delayed because some banks are revisiting agreements with developers and revising the terms of their loans, say infrastructure firms. An official with infrastructure firm KMC Construction Ltd said on condition of anonymity that the company’s bankers have revisited the earlier agreement, raising the interest rate and asking the company to increase its equity holding in the project, a 225km stretch of highway between Gurgaon and Jaipur.
(7th of November – The Hindu)

* Gurgaon hit by global recession, many textile export houses shut
The global economic downturn has started hitting Indian exporters. With their overseas markets, such as the US, facing a big meltdown, garment industry owners and export houses in Gurgaon are shutting shops. Says Ashwini Chachra, co-owner of Supreme Craft Export that also owns Satyam Cinemas in Delhi: “I had an annual turnover of Rs 90 crore from my four readymade garments and fabric units that employed around 2,000 people. With practically no orders in hand and due to costly labour and electricity charges, there was no alternative but to shut the units after paying the compensation for the notice period.” The four properties are up for rent or sale, whichever is earlier. According to Krishan Kapoor, chairman and general secretary of the Haryana Industrial Association (HIA), if the situation does not improve by the end of this year, Gurgaon may see “35-40 per cent companies shut down completely”. In fact, India’s exports grew at the slowest pace in 18 months in September. Over 100 companies had then packed up their units in Gurgaon and shifted to other states like HP and Uttaranchal where electricity and land rates are cheaper. Also, industries in these states are exempted from excise duty for 10 years. According to Kapoor, the orders have decreased by almost 35 per cent since the slowdown.
(9th of November – Express India)

* Melt-Down: Car Component Industry hit
With Indian auto makers facing rising inventories amid slowing demand, many component manufacturers, especially small enterprises, are increasingly facing delays in getting paid. Says a Gurgaon-based auto part vendor, who supplies critical components to companies such as Ashok Leyland Ltd, Eicher Motors Ltd and Force Motors Ltd: “The credit period given to the auto makers is usually 30-45 days. However, owing to the present crisis facing the industry, this period has got extended to as much as 90 days.” Deepak Jain, executive director of Gurgaon-based Lumax Industries Ltd, said though his company is not facing any payment-related issues from any of its customers, it has set up a special taskforce to recover outstanding debt of up to Rs8 crore over the next six months. “In the present context, with both the cost of finance and its availability becoming an issue, one has to generate cash from within the system. One of the ways can be to address ageing debts,” he said.
(11th of November 2008 – LiveMint)

*** Never use a needle, summary of study on Delhi/Gurgaon textile export industries

In this issue of GurgaonWorkersNews we published various short reports of workers employed in the local textile export industry. In the following we summarise a long study on the very same industry, first published in March 2007, in collaboration between ‘United Students against Sweatshops’, ‘Jobs with Justice’ and ‘Society for Labour and Development’. The full study can be found here:

http://www.jwj.org/campaigns/global/indiacollaboration.html

The study focus on six major export manufacturers – Modelama Exports Ltd., Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd., Pearl Global Ltd., Company G of Group R, Orient Crafts Ltd., M/S Jyoti Apparels – most of them still active in the Gurgaon area, as you can read in the workers’ reports. The researchers interviewed company representatives of the upper management and in result got some valuable insight about:

a) The view of the management on the global and Indian textile market after the end of the trade quota in 2005
b) The relation-ship between textile manufacturers and the US and European clients, e.g. Wal Mart
c) The break down of production costs and profits
d) The increased use of machinery within the apparel sector
e) The work-force distribution amongst the different production departments and the wage and gender hierarchy

The companies belong to the biggest Indian apparel export houses, major in terms of production capacity, work-force and annual turn-over. If the numbers are correct and the labour input per apparel product remained similar, then the example of Modelama shows us that the prices have fallen significantly: despite the out-put having gone up by 400 per cent within four years, the turn-over only doubled. Examples:

Modelama Exports Ltd.
Annual turn-over in USD: 30 million (2002), 60 million (2005)
Number of factories in Delhi/Gurgaon area: 10
Annual out-put of ready-made pieces: 2 million (2002), 8 million (2005)
Total work-force: about 6,000
Total annual wage sum for production workers: about 5,4 million USD

Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd.
Annual turn-over in USD: 120 million (2005)
Total monthly out-put of ready-made pieces: 2.8 Million
Monthly out-put of visited factory in pieces: 150,000
Total work-force: 15,000
Total annual wage sum for production workers: 13.5 million USD

Orient Crafts Ltd.
Annual turn-over in USD: 120 million (2005)
Total daily out-put in pieces: 130,000
Total work-force: 23,000, of which 5,000 are employed in the bigger factories

a) The view of the management on the global and Indian textile market after the end of the trade quota in 2005

The interviews with the management took place in 2006, a very long time for a sector which is so directly connected to the global swings of the market and currencies. In August 2007, in GurgaonWorkersNews no.9 we reported about the mass redundancies in the local textile export industry – amongst others at Orient Craft. The companies complained about an export squeeze due to the strong Rupee, contracts were given to Chinese (higher productivity due to higher degree of mechanization) or Bangladeshi (lower wages, weaker currency) manufacturers. A year later the Rupee is on a record low, but the US consumer market has crashed in the turbulence of the debt crisis. Another round of mass-layoffs is kicking in. “Job loss in the range of 6-7 lakh is likely in the near future as units are closing down or operating on sub-optimal capacity because of fall in demand, both in domestic and international markets, and liquidity crunch,” Chairman of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) R K Dalmia said on 5th of November 2008. “In the last fiscal garment exports was over 9 billion dollar but this year it will be in the range around 7.5 billion dollar on account of slump in demand from the US and EU countries.” The orders from the US and European buyers come in on ever more shorter notice or are cancelled last minute. The slightest movement of the currency value impacts on the industry: workers are sucked in and pushed out at an increasingly rapid pace. During the interviews all managers therefore demanded easier hire and fire policies: “Specific AEPC (employers’ association) goal is to get the government to change the law that states that workers are permanent employees after 100 days, to 200 days, so that businesses who do not get orders during the winter are not hurt by the cost of labor. For three months of the year, he stated, garment businesses do not have orders. U.S. and EU have always been strong markets in India, probably average 70% of India’s market”. Since the reform of the global quota system the competition between India, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh increased, the global prices for apparel dropped by ten per cent. “In 2005, as it was clear that Indian businesses were gaining from the phase-out and smaller countries like Bangladesh were losing instead, the investment returned”.

b) The relation-ship between textile manufacturers and the US and European clients, e.g. Wal Mart

As mentioned above the Indian textile exports heavily depend on the US market, in the case of the six companies – which solely manufacture for export – about 80 per cent of the total product goes to the US. In addition to the dependency on a single market there is a dependency on single big buyers. “GAP is sourcing worth about $1 billion from India and we are doing more than $10 million with them.” Lalit Gulati, Modelama Chairman. The example of the Company G of Group R shows the importance of single buyers:

Major Client / Origin / Since / Share of companies orders

GAP / U.S.A. / 15-20 years / 40%

Macy’s / U.S.A. / 15-20 years / 20-25%

Wal-Mart / U.S.A. / 20 years / 20%

Dillards / U.S.A. / 15-20 years / 7%

Liz Claiborne / U.S.A. / 15-20 years / 7%

During recent years the size of orders grow, while the prices drop and the time-pressure for delivery increases. In the case of Orient Craft the average order size is 10-12,000 pieces, sometimes 25-45,000 or even 100,000 pieces. The average price per piece is six to seven USD, time given for manufacturing the order is about 60 days, plus 30 days shipment.

c) The break down of production costs and profits

Short glimpse on the value chain: An example given was if the retail price of a given garment manufactured for Target (a US buyer) is 9.99 USD, 60 per cent of that is Target’s profit margin per unit (PMU). The remaining 3.99 USD is the landed cost, which includes not only the factory unit price but the duty cost (AMC and freight). Of that remaining 3.99 USD, about 2.75 USD goes to Modelama. There is no break down of the production costs and sales revenue for Modelama, but for Shahi Exports PVT.:

Est USD 2006 / % of Sales Per Unit / Price (for Shahi Exports)

Material Cost 70 million / 50% / $3.25

Labor 16.8-23.8 million / 12-17% / $0.78-$1.11 /

Trims and Packaging 14 – 28 million /10-20% / $0.65-$1.30

Depreciation 1.4 million / 1% / $0.07

Machinery upkeep 2.8 million / 2% / $0.13

Overhead 2.8 million / 2% / $0.13

Embellishments 7-14 million / 5-10% / $0.033-$0.65

Profit 14 million / 10% target / $0.65

“These figures were estimated by the Divisional Manager of Marketing in the space of 5-10 minutes, so they can only be thought of as a rough approximation”.
It’s a shame that we have no comparison to earlier figures, which would very likely reveal that the profit margin of the manufacturers are shrinking and the general expenditure on machinery is increasing.

d) The increased use of machinery within the apparel sector

We thought of the textile industry as an industry of very low use of machinery: one hundred sewing machines and workers, and your textile plant is ready to go. If you haven’t got any orders, just kick out the workers and you won’t lose much money on rusting technology. Or just ship them to the next low-wage region, because a sewing machine is easy to transport. The following list of machines used in the production process seems surprisingly long for a ‘low investment’ industry.

At the Shahi factory there are 750 single machines:

“The CAM based cutting department can make 75,000 cuts per day, while the 60 multi-head computerized embroidery machines have a capacity of 800 million stitches per day. The latest CAD software enables quick processing of pattern creation, grading, marker making and global electronic exchange of pattern data. The production unit boasts machines from Brother, Juki, Ngai Shing, Durkopp Adler, Hashima and Kannegiesser. It is also equipped with single needle lock stitch programmable machines with UBT, double needle-needle feed split bar machines, single needle top and bottom variable feed machines, feed-off-the-arm machines, fusing press, collar/cuff turning and blocking machines, pocket machines and automatic pocket welters”.

At Modelama we can also see the distribution of workers over the different departments:

“Production (~800 Workers)
There are about 560 tailors. The floor is laid out in dozens of assembly lines, at the front of which is displayed an “Hourly Production” dry-erase board with the line number, supervisor name, input, output, and number of workers. An example line was sewing collar parts with a total of 46 tailors and 5 helpers. The company deploys over 3000 imported sewing machines with customized workstations. Machinery includes Auto Zig Machine, Auto Pocket Welting M/C, Programmable Sleeve Setter Stations, Auto Surging Machine, Auto Dart Making Stations, Pneumatic Button Hemming Stations, Differential Feed Machines, Needle Feed Machine, Top, Differential and Bottom Cylindrical Bed Unison Feed Machine, Blind Hemmers, Auto Belt Attaching Stations, Multifusing with Three Track of Loading (High Performance Macpee).

Cutting (50-55 workers)
The cutting department had five lines of machines laid out with worker stations. Machinery includes Auto Spreaders, Autocad (Lectra), Auto Cutter (Lectra), Band Knife M/Cs, Air Flotation Tables.

Washing (24 workers) and Finishing/ Pressing (175 workers)
The finishing area had lines of workers pressing and folding clothes. This was the only department with women. Washing machinery includes a wet and dry processing unit comprised of micro processor controlled washer extractors, perc based dry cleaning machines, sand blasting, and brushing machines. Pressing and finishing machinery include multipresses, dummy presses, flatbeds, calendaring machines and range of buck shapes and steam irons from manufacturers like MACPII, Veit, Trevil, and Renzacci.

Additional Machinery
Factory has a special conveyor system that moves products from assembly lines to other departments. HR Manager boasted that Modelama was the only factory in India to have this machine.

e) The work-force distribution amongst the different production departments and the wage and gender hierarchy

Following some examples of the composition of the work-force, first in terms of different departments and hierarchies, then in terms of wages and finally some words about the gender composition. In terms of hierarchy at the Company R factory there was one supervisor per every 30-40 operators. A different picture at Shahi Export Ltd., where there would be one supervisor per every 70 workers:

——————————————————————–

Workers at production site visited
Total number of workers: 3,000

Department and category ~Number of workers Gender

Production Total 1800 Mostly female
+Unskilled 400-500 –
+Semi-skilled and Skilled sewing 1100-1300 90% female
operators
+Line supervisors 25 Mostly male

Cutting Total 85 Mostly male
+Unskilled fabric spreaders 60 –
+Skilled machine operators 25 –

Centralized Storage Total 150 –
+Semi-skilled and unskilled 120 –
+Skilled workers 20 –
+Staff who manage quality control 30 –

Washing Total 150 –
+Semi-skilled 120 –
+Skilled machine operators 30 –

Finishing (incl pressing/checking) 600 Mixed
+Unskilled (heavy lifting) 50
+Semi-skilled 410
+Skilled 100
+Supervisors and dpt/line-in-charge 40

Sampling 50-150 Mostly female

Remaining marketing, merchandising,
accounts, shipping staff Mixed

———————————————————————————

After interviewing a manager at Modelama the researchers drew following break down of wage distribution. Compared with the wages being paid today (see reports in this newsletter) you can see that they have more or less stagnated while inflation went up by ten to twelve per cent:

Category Average Wage (Rs./month)

Tailors
+skilled 3500
+semi-skilled 3000-3300
+unskilled 2710

Cutters
+machine operators 3000
+unskilled 2500-2800

Washers
+sandblasting operators 4000
+other machine operators 5000

Finishing
+pressers 3000
+skilled final checkers 3500
+semi-skilled checkers 3200
+general unskilled checkers 2700

Supervisors/Mid Mgmt
+skilled (3+ yrs experience) 7000-11000
+assistant (1-2 yrs experience) 6000

——————————————————————–

Estimated worker turnover per month was at 7-10 per cent to 20 per cent, meaning that hardly any worker stays longer than a year. In most of the Northern Indian textile factories 80 per cent of the workers are male. One main reason is the ‘availability’ of a male work-force, given that most of them a migrants who have left there families in their home towns and villages. Women don’t tend to migrate on their own. Another reason state is the company transport: companies feel compelled to provide transport for their female workers (something which is not common), while male workers can do without. The only company out of six which mainly employed female workers is Shahi Export Ltd. The researcher asked why and the manager answered:

Researcher: Why are your workers mostly female? Are there significant differences in
productivity?
Manager: No, no significant differences in productivity. Just, men together tend to
form groups and lobbies because they have spare time.
Researcher: I don’t understand. What groups?
Manager: Oh, they get involved in politics—(phone call)
Researcher: What were you saying about the worker groups?
Manager: No—that’s not—don’t quote that. I’ll tell you, but off the record. Women
are easier to handle. They’re more docile; easier to control. Also, ladies are more
focused on work.

The examples of recent textile workers revolts in Vietnam, China and Bangladesh should teach them a lesson: once angry, the ‘ladies’ are revolting and rioting hard!

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 = 50 Rs (November 2008)
1 Euro = 61 Rs (November 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 (summer 2007):

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.

3 Responses to “GurgaonWorkersNews no.9/14”


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