Thursday, June 2, 2011


34 Year Old Casual/ Temporary Worker
I came to Faridabad for the first time in 1997. First, I joined Autopin factory through a contractor. In the first month, for 13 to 14 days, I worked for 16 hours each day. (I was seventeen at the time.) I worked there for nine months. In later months, I worked 16 hours a day for six, seven, eight days.

Through another contractor, I joined Talbross factory. Here also for six days in a month, they used to force us to work for 16 hours. During winters, going to and from the factory was very problematic given the fog at the railway crossing and crossing the National Highway Mathura Road. I saw three, four accidents where blood was all over the place. I felt sick. Because of the accidents and night duty during winter, I left Talbross after four months.

Then through an acquaintance, I joined Anil Rubber factory. Here for the first time, they had me sign on blank papers at the time of employment. I had also heard that employment officers take a 200 rupee bribe. In Anil Rubber, I worked sixteen hours a day only four days in a month. After six months, I was given a 'break', meaning termination of services.

I joined Expro factory. Here we have to work for 16 hours a day, five days in the month. And there was no chance of leaving after 12 hours of work. While working in Expro factory, I had heard about ITI (Industrial Training Institute). After six months, I was again given a 'break'. In June 1998, I left for my village. That year I could not get admission in ITI. I got admisson in 2000. After completing ITI in 2002, I came back to Faridabad and I am now a temporary worker in Oswal Electricals.
At this time, I am on night shift. In the factory, I go to the latrine. (If I don't go in the factory, then I have to go out in the open near my shanty.) I walk back to my room. I wash up and then have a bath. I don't drink tea. By this time, it's 9 a.m. And for breakfeast, I make roti, and fry potatoes, peas, or cauliflower. Sometimes, when I am too tired, I straightaway prepare my meal- rice, lentils, and something else with it. Normally, I sleep at 11 a.m. and get up at 4:30, 4:45 p.m. If I sleep after breakfast, then I miss out on lunch. After washing up, I go to the vegetable market and have a light snack there. At most, I spend 5 rupees on it. I buy vegetables for another 5 rupees and on returning I sit in a barbershop and read the newspaper there for an hour or two. Then for an hour or two, I study in the room- general knowledge, general science, and about my subject of refrigeration. At night by 9 p.m., I make dinner. Then I rest for an hour before leaving for work.

On arrival, attendance is marked at the factory gate. In the department, the supervisor tells us the work to be done and issues gloves and a pencil. I have to check the production of three operators. I have to check for fissures, indents, fault in the sites etc. There is pressure from the operators that I should hold back from finding faults. Yet, the responsibility of the job is that I do it according to the norms. This work continues into the night until 7:30 a.m. In Oswal electricals, there is no break for a meal and even for tea. Constant work for 8 hours! There is no question of sleep. (In some factories, workers work quickly and sleep after their work.) If the material is bad, then you can't even take out ten to fifteen minutes for yourself and the material piles up. If the material is good, then we can rest for five, ten minutes and dring this time, we go to the latrine. Otherwise, we go to the toilet after the shift is over.
There are 500 workers in Oswal Electrical factory, but there is no canteen. (The law says if there are more than 300 workers, there has to be a canteen.) We are banned from leaving the factory to have tea. Three, four of us have to get together and obtain a gate pass for one person from the supervisor and send him to the East India Crossing open shops to get tea. Even supervisors cannot go out to have tea. This was the situation in the night-shift of Talbross Factory also- no break for meal, no break for tea, and there was a canteen, but it used to be closed at night.
Shifts change every week. Last week I worked the morning shift. Then I used to get up at 5 a.m. I had to go out in the open to defecate. Then make breakfast and lunch. Eat two rotis and fold four to take with me. During winters, I don't bathe in the morning. From 7:30 a.m., I work in the factory. In the day shift, there is lunch break from 11:30 to 12 noon.

After the shift is over at 3:30, I come straight back to my room. I bring water and have a bath- supply water is not too cold. If something is left over, then I have that, or I prepare something small to eat. Then I read for awhile. I go to the library in NH1 (a locality) and for an hour, I skim through both English and Hindi newspapers. And return by 7 p.m. I'll read books for an hour or two. I prepare my dinner at 9 p.m. and sleep by 11 p.m.

For these 15 days, I have to do all the work myself. Earlier I used to give an acquaintance, 600 rupees per month for my meal.
The most problemtic is B shift duty. Now I will have to bear this all by myself. In B shift, I return from the factory 12 at night. At that point, it is very difficult to eat the 9 p.m. prepared cold food. It is 1 a.m. by the time I finish eating. I can't fall asleep until 2 a.m. In the morning, I awake at 7, 7:30 a.m. and because of lateness, going out in the open for latrine is an additional problem. By the time I have my bath, it is 10 a.m. After breakfeast, I feel drowsy and sleep for another hour and a half. After getting up, I have my meal at 12:30 to 1 p.m. and just wile away time. Everything goes topsy-turvy in B shift. I feel loose, without energy. This laziness remains till 4:30, 5:30 p.m. After we have been working for an hour, then the body becomes alert. In B shift, leisurely roaming and reading stops.
I really dislike being in the factory. There is too much fault-finding and lecturing by the supervisor. I feel bad when co-workers refuse to answer a question or talk back rudely- they don't even consider us human beings. They want to get work out of us at a faster speed than CNC (computerized) machines.

Outside there are also problems upon problems. Water problem, problem in the post office, problem at the railway station...everywhere there is a line. I dislike lines. Right now, I have no friends here. They are all temporary. A little acquaintance, some conversation. Sometimes, I feel extremely lonely.
I like interesting work, where there are things to be learned. I like to roam about and gather information. But in this age, where are such things?...

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