Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In collieries, the immediate results of the regulation have exceeded expectations and the table below gives the relevant figures of average numbers employed.
|Category of workers.||1928.||1929.||1928.||1929.|
|Underground||28, 408||21, 880||68, 727||75, 022|
|Open workings||8, 019||7, 946||9, 443||10, 793|
|Surface||13, 446||12, 652||36, 097||37, 366|
|Total||49, 872||42, 477||1, 14, 267||1, 23, 181|
The effects of this change must be increasingly felt as time goes on, but in some directions are not difficult to foresee.
First and most obvious is the loss of wages to the women, for whom alternative employment is not available and. where these are the wives or connections of the male workers, a corresponding reduction in the family income. Against this, in the opinion of competent observers, must be set the increased effort evoked by the new conditions and greater regularity of attendance on the part of male workers. If this proves to be the case, the change will be all for the good; but the adjustment is not likely to be easy and, for some years, special importance must be attached to providing every possible method of increasing the miner's efficiency. We recommend that, in order to mitigate hardship amongst women excluded or about to be excluded from underground workings, employers should reserve for them vacancies occurring among surface workers, wherever practicable. Secondly, since the work of women underground has been the loading of the cut coal into tubs, in future this work will have to be done by some other means, either by the coal cutter himself, by male workers or by machinery. Figures for 1929 show that the number of male loaders has increased from 8, 774 in 1928 to 12, 592 in 1929, i.e., by 43%. so that this adjustment should not be difficult. Thirdly, the release of so many women of the miners' families from the industry should make possible the raising of the miners' standard of home life, with a consequent increase in their efficiency, to the benefit of employer and employed. But this advantage will not be gained without effort on the part of the employer, for, unless conditions of life on the collieries are improved, miners will not bring their women to the mining areas when their power to earn is gone, and these areas will not escape the evils resulting from a marked disparity in the sex ratio. In our opinion the introduction of improvements is not only a moral obligation but is also dictated by the interest of the employer .