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State of garment workers in India.

Written By Views maker on December 02, 2007 | 12/02/2007



Garment workers in Bangalore fight harassment.

Workers affiliated with the Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) have decided to launch a two-month long campaign in the State demanding minimum wages of Rs. 200 a day.Hundreds of workers of garment industry led by union leaders on Sunday took out a rally from Banappa Park to Senate Hall, Central College, here and chalked out a strategy to intensify their agitation in the coming days. Nearly five lakh women have been working in the garment industry in the State and currently they have been paid Rs. 93 a day.
500,000 garment workers in Bangalore, facing a very bad environment a work. 70 per cent have no proper toilets or safe drinking water. The official working day is 8 hours, but in reality its 10-12 hours, with only one hour extra pay. Union was formed in 1996 and has 25,000 members today. 97 per cent of the members are women, as are all members in the leadership. “Women workers from the rural areas are recruited to the garment industry in fast growing cities Bangalore. Here they are extremely exploited by the employers. Most live in 15 x 20 feet rooms with up to five other workers. The wages are 700-2,500 rupees per month. The minimum wage in Karnataka is 2,100 rupees.” (1 euro=57 rupees. Bangalore is capital in the state of Karnataka).
On top of the bad conditions and the low wages, the workers are subject to sexual harassment at work, from supervisors and management. Women workers are regarded as of less value than male workers. They have almost no education and their own families don't want them back after moving from home. After five years of work, they should be permitted to 15 days extra wage. But the employers even get around this, by sacking them just before the five years have passed

Tirupur textile workers bear the brunt of the rising rupee against $

The rising rupee that breached the psychologically crucial Rs40 to $1 level last week is set to claim its first victim: a large number of the 350,000 or so workers in the textile town of Tirupur, in Tamil Nadu, may lose jobs as exporters are finding it difficult to keep the mills running. The trouble for these workers actually started a few months ago with the steady rise in the rupee and exporters finding it difficult to increase volumes. Some textiles mills in this southern state have already started resorting to partial layoffs through reduction in production and doing away with their night shift. A large number of retrenched workers from Karur, Tirupur and Coimbatore are seeking jobs in Madurai The rising rupee is drastically bringing down the export earnings when dollar income is translated into local currency. The Indian currency is Asia’s best performing currency this year, rising some 11% against the greenback. This means an 11% drop in earnings for exporters if the volume of exports and prices remain the same.

Some 2,500 of textile factories in Tirupur are into knitting, another 1,500 into garment manufacturing, some 700 into dyeing and 400 into embroidery, with the rest into printing. It is one of India’s largest textile clusters housing 100% export-oriented units. The first export consignment left Tirupur in 1978 and until 1985, annual exports were less than Rs10 crore. The turnover touched Rs1,000 crore in 1991 and since then it has growth 11 times.

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