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Garment workers, domestic head to cracker factories

Thứ sáu, 10/01/2014 - 03:58 PM

BANGALORE: Don't be surprised if your domestic help doesn't turn up for work over the next few days. In the run-up to Diwali, women like Vijayalakshmi Velu, a domestic help in Hebbal, head to work in cracker factories to earn a quick buck. Her husband too has joined her as this can be quite lucrative.

Her daughter comes as her substitute to many households. "My domestic help has been taking leave off and on for three months and every time, she comes up with some excuse. This time, when I threatened to sack her, she sent her daughter. Her daughter told me her parents are working in cracker factories at Hosur," said Madhavi R, a homemaker in Hebbal.

Benila, another domestic help, told her employer her father-in-law had dead. "She wanted leave for seven days. When I spoke to another resident of the same colony where she worked, she told me Benila had given some other reason. I have to do all the domestic work and clean up each room before Lakshmi Puja and Diwali. We're having guests come over and I don't know how to handle all this," said Mandrita Mazumdar, business analyst and resident of Iblur.

Vijaylakshmi and Benila take home a monthly salary of between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 but can earn about Rs 500 to Rs 600 per day in these cracker factories.

Garment factory workers too are making crackers or packing them. Garment factory workers' union leaders say making crackers can be very tiring and are not sure how many of their sector's workers are giving their regular job a miss to earn more money in Hosur. There are 857 registered garment factories in Bangalore, of which 20% are in Bommanahalli, Jigani, Anekal and others areas off Hosur Road.

"Workers take sick leave for seven days for which they get half their daily wage and earn Rs 500 to Rs 600 per day for working in cracker factories," said union leader Pratibha R.

A garment factory HR professional confirmed that absenteeism has been high over the past couple of months. An unskilled garment factory worker is paid Rs 193.50 per day for 26 days as per the government rules and and a skilled worker gets Rs 201 per day. "But I'm sure no one gets as much as she's supposed to get. The working conditions are no better and they have to stand for 10 hours at a stretch," said a union leader for garment workers.


Workers say they're suffering from dengue or typhoid due to the open drains in their villages. But it's possible they're working in cracker factories or join political rallies to make a quick buck.

Jayaprakash Rai | HR department, Radhamani Exports, Jigani