Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The system of wage payment in South India has one advantage in that it enables many workers to return to their homes with what must be to them a fairly substantial sum of money. It involves a saving of all surplus earnings, and it is no little credit to the planter that the worker places such complete confidence in him. On the other hand, the disadvantages in our view outweigh the advantages. It tends both to tie the worker to a particular estate, and to put an unnatural brake on that gradual adjustment of the plantation worker to a higher standard of living which the industry itself realises to be one of its greatest needs: Not only are the weekly payments small, but evidence was not lacking to show that in some cases the workers were compelled to take further advances from their maistry for wants which could not be met out of the weekly advance. Moreover, we believe that the system of payment of wages in full to the worker at regular intervals, a system in force in all other plantation areas, would go far to break down the prevailing system of taking advances from the maistry at the time of recruitment. In view of their genera indebtedness, few workers can resist the immediate offer of money in the hand or visualise the ultimate consequences to themselves of the ready acceptance of such offers. We feel, however, that any system of payment which, as we believe to be the case here, tends to encourage rather than to discourage this habit is to be deprecated. Nor can we approve a method of payment which precludes the worker from sending home sums of money from time to time for the support of such dependents as do not accompany him to the plantation. In discussing in debtedness we have made recommendations relating to the regular and prompt payment of wages, the recovery of recruiting costs, including the cost of transit, and restrictions on the recovery of advances. These, are intended also for application to plantation labour. They should be of especial value in South Indian plantations in improving the independence economic position and bargaining power of the workers.