Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
It may seem that an appreciable reduction of hours could be achieved merely by the elimination of a portion of the unauthorised periods of rest. But it is stated by some observers that the worker prefers a long day with lax discipline to a shorter day with strict discipline. It can be argued in support of this view that many of them come from agricultural surroundings and that the idea of giving concentrated attention to work day by day for regular hours is foreign to them. There is an element of truth in this and, quite apart from the question of habit, few of the present operatives have the physique and training which would enable them to work with that degree of concentration which is demanded in the West. It is indeed arguable that climate and other factors would always render a somewhat slower pace imperative in India. On the other hand, we have no doubt that it is impossible for the average operative to remain at work regularly through a 10 hour day either in a cotton mill or in any other factory. The unauthorised intervals are a form of self-defence against over-work. It is significant that the statements made to us by employers regarding the great difference between nominal and actual hours of work were mainly confined to the cotton mill industry. We do not suggest that loitering is unknown, elsewhere, but we are satisfied that, generally speaking, the short working week is associated with closer attention to work and stricter supervision than the long one. Further, in no case did those workers who were working a short week with stricter discipline suggest that they would like a longer and less intense day 01 more intervals. As a matter of fact, the attempt in 1922 to increase the interval of half an hour in an 8 1/2 hour day in engineering shops in Bengal and elsewhere was defeated by the operatives. Similarly, in some Bombay cotton mills which, prior to 1922, had worked the operatives for an 8 hour shift without any interval, the introduction of an hour's statutory interval led to a strike. Nor did a single employer who had adopted a short day suggest that it would be better to lengthen the day and requires a correspondingly lower standard of concentration. Finally, few would be prepared to assert that the cotton mill operative, when compared with workers doing a shorter and more intense day, shows that greater contentment which the longer and less intense day is supposed to yield.