par­ity within the coun­try

Perfect Sourcing - - Cover Story -

The is­sue of min­i­mum wages for gar­ment work­ers has al­ways been a sub­ject of le­gal bat­tles be­tween the in­dus­try and the work­ers’ unions.

In In­dia, the Min­i­mum Wages Act 1948 sets the min­i­mum wages that must be paid to skilled and un­skilled labour. The In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion has also de­fined a ‘liv­ing wage’ that is the level of in­come for a worker which will en­sure a ba­sic stan­dard of liv­ing in­clud­ing good health. How­ever, each state has its own wage pol­icy and slabs of wages for skilled and un­skilled labour­ers.

In the tex­tile and gar­ment in­dus­try, ba­sic wages and take home wages dif­fer be­tween cat­e­gories of work­ers. These wages also dif­fer from one in­dus­trial clus­ter to the other, points out a study on Wage Struc­ture in the In­dian Gar­ment In­dus­try con­ducted by so­ci­ety for Labour and De­vel­op­ment, in 2013. Con­tract work­ers are paid less than reg­u­lar work­ers. Wages are 20 times higher in the for­mal sec­tor as com­pared to the in­for­mal sec­tor.

Such di­ver­sity in wages arises from the mul­ti­plic­ity of min­i­mum wages across dif­fer­ent states. This makes it tough for the gar­ment in­dus­try to set a na­tional stan­dard wage across the coun­try. Fur­ther­more, there is a dearth of na­tional level data per­tain­ing to the to­tal num­ber of each cat­e­gory of gar­ment work­ers, such as tai­lors, cut­ters, ironers, etc.

In Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur, the largest knitwear pro­duc­tion clus­ter in the coun­try, knit­ted gar­ment com­pa­nies pay the state stip­u­lated min­i­mum wage of Rs. 9,600 a month, and wo­ven gar­ment units Rs. 11,000. In Delhi, units paid Rs. 9,742 un­til March, when the state gov­ern­ment an­nounced a 36 per­cent hike, rais­ing the min­i­mum wage to Rs. 13,350 a month. Units in Ben­galuru, the big­gest re­gion for ready­made ap­parel pro­duc­tion and ex­port in In­dia, with over 1,200 fac­to­ries em­ploy­ing more than five lakh work­ers, pay Rs. 7,474 a month, in­clud­ing dear­ness al­lowance.

In the tex­tile and gar­ment in­dus­try, ba­sic wages and take home wages dif­fer be­tween cat­e­gories of work­ers. These wages also dif­fer from one in­dus­trial clus­ter to the other, points out a study on Wage Struc­ture in the In­dian Gar­ment In­dus­try con­ducted by so­ci­ety for Labour and De­vel­op­ment, in 2013. Con­tract work­ers are paid less than reg­u­lar work­ers. Wages are 20 times higher in the for­mal sec­tor as com­pared to the in­for­mal sec­tor.

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