Inside the âparksâ, within each factory, a carefully calculated use of imported machines and local labour in finely calibrated proportions, is designed to maximize returns for the investor. It is not difficult to figure out why for certain orders, specific machinery is switched off and manual processes used. According to these mysterious formulae, each member of the human workforce, especially in the tailoring units, has to keep pace with an assembly line that moves at dizzying speeds, remote controlled by export order deadlines and fashion trends in the âwestâ. Forcing a less than adequate workforce number to work overtime with no extra pay and harassment of women workers by male supervisors have become entrenched as âunavoidableâ ways of meeting deadlines. And using deadlines as an excuse, a culture of fear and powerlessness has been cultivated on the shop floor, to prevent workers from articulating even basic rights â be it wages, or time to have lunch or leave requirements. Against this backdrop, we keep hearing announcements claiming that each Apparel Park would house 100-200 units and employ 30,000 to 60,000 workers, of whom about 80% will be women. While the State is busy making things easy for the investors, the lack of adequate attention to workers issues is unacceptable. Somehow, with Ammuâs and Padmavathyâs deaths, and increasing visibility of the dehumanized workplace, any âeuphoriaâ about these three lakh new jobs already stinks. What is also significant here is that Shalini Creations is a unit of Texport Overseas Group, and produces for global brands like GAP, Metlan etc who claim have staff welfare norms in place which are regularly monitored by the Compliance Officers representing these Brands. While the Brands are keen to convey to their western consumers that workers are well looked after, the actual gap between what the compliance officer sees ( or chooses not to see) and the rosy image that the Brand attempts to project, seems to be widening. Image source: aliciapatterson.org. > Continue.
22 09 2007