Thursday, July 28, 2011


19 Year Old Worker

I've been working since 1999. At this time, I am a casual (contract or temporary) worker in Lakhani shoes factory. I stay in a shanty on rent at 250 rupees. There is no electricty. And fearing raids of officials, the neighbors don't provide us with a connection, so we have to make due with a lamp. My duty is in general shift.

I get up at 5:30 a.m. I have to go out to defecate in a very dirty place. Then I get in line for water. My friend is also a casual worker and now after the break sells vegetables on the street. Just after getting up, he runs to the vegetable market. After collecting water, I prepare food for both of us. To prepare roti and vegetables for two on the kerosene stove, it takes an hour. After preparing the food, I take a bath and then I eat. I leave for duty at 8 a.m. on the bicycle.

Attendance is marked first at the factory gate and then in the department. Work begins at 8:30 a.m. There is no break for tea but at 9:30 tea comes from the canteen and one has to buy it with one's money and drink it while continuing to wok. It is very laborious work. You have to be at it all the time. Count, pack in boxes, load the vehicle... The supervisor continuously scolds and abuses us. In Lakhani shoes, there is not even time to drink water or go to the bathroom. One has to hide and go.

There is some relief during lunchtime. We eat together and talk. We want to leave this job but where can we go? Ideas keep churning in each one's mind. On the days I don't have time to make lunch, I eat in the canteen. They only serve rice and lentil beans in the canteen and they give an half plate for 4 rupees, but it does not fill my stomach. I have to spend 8 rupees. I am not able to send money home, nor am I able to live properly.

After lunch we have to work continuously for five and half hours, and there is no tea coming around. It seems as though we have been tied up. There is no overtime work for me. On the release at 5 p.m., I come straight to my room and make tea. Afte tea, I sit here and there for some time. I collect water at 6:30 p.m. and clean the utensils. I prepare food at 7 p.m. My friend returns at 9 p.m. and then we make dinner. Sometimes, I watch t.v. We wash the dishes and sleep by 10:30 p.m.

Around 19 Year Old Worker

After my 12th grade exams,I started working in a factory. I absolutely don't feel like getting up in the morning. My mother and father get up at 5 a.m. and start making vegetables and rotis. Even after repeated calls, I do not get up at 6:15 and then my mother's bickering begins. No matter how much I dislike it, I have to get up. Then I rush and get ready for work.

My mother says nasty things to me while giving me breakfast. Hurriedly, I eat and pack my lunch and by 7:15, I leave the house. I have to walk for ten minutes to get an auto. In one auto, we ten girls go to the factory. When the auto driver is late, he speeds a lot and we feel afraid. In these three years, I have seen many accidents. An auto flipping over caused serious injuries to my sister's girlfriend. During winters, one feels very cold in the auto. And during the summer, hot winds and in the rainy season, it's also problematic to be in the auto.

Our duty starts at 8:15 a.m. and the attendance is marked in the department. Before beginning work, we have to put on ghost-like uniforms. The supervisors scold us a lot and use dirty language while demanding production. Many girls start crying. They force us to increase production and then scold the boys into increasing production because of our production. Some girls out of fear of not meeting the production demands and some due to greed of incentive are at work all the time. They don't even have lunch and instead eat while returning home in the auto. There is immense pressure on us at the factory for fast and faster work...

Talking in the factory is prohibited. Under our breath, we abuse and curse the officers a lot. Our hands suffer a lot. Every day at least 5-6 times, needles prick my fingers. Sometimes, a lot of blood comes out, but the company keeps hammering away at us to produce, produce. There is no break in the factory except for lunch. Neither in the morning, nor in the evening does tea come to around. We have to ask and make an entry even for a water break. We girls have to work half an hour over time every day but the situation is worse with the boys. The boys have to work for 12 hours every day. Even on Sundays, we have to work. They scold us for taking Sunday off. And there is a bonus though, for full attendance in the month.

Having left home at 7:15 a.m., I return at 6:30 p.m. I am very hungry by then and the first thing I do is eat. I take out my frustration on my younger brother. I have to prepare dinner- mother also works. I wash the dishes and then watch t.v. It is 11 p.m. by the time I go to sleep.

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