Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
While many employers are naturally opposed to proposals to-compel them to introduce a system which would involve extra trouble and some extra expense, we believe that others would be ready to pay wages by shorter periods if they were convinced that their workers wanted it. When the Weekly Payments Bill was under discussion, the evidence of opposition to change on the part of the operatives seems to have had a considerable influence, and we have directed some attention to this point. As a result, it is not possible to indulge in any generalisation on the question. The leaders of labour realise the possibilities which a shorter period offers, but there cannot be said to be any widely voiced demand for change. Indeed, whether the employer has paid monthly, half-monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily, the workers have nearly always acquiesced, and the majority are so heavily indebted that the gain which a change of period might bring appears trifling when compared with the possible inconvenience or danger. Thus in some branches of industry, and especially on railways, particular privileges are apt to be accorded to monthly-paid men and not to others. In such cases, the proposal to reduce the period naturally creates apprehension. With a few there is a sense of prestige attaching to monthly payments, and in some cases the system of advances goes far to overcome the disadvantages of monthly payment. More potent with many, probably, is the fear of a disturbance of relations with money-lenders, shopkeepers and landlords, who are naturally unwilling to alter their systems of accounts. Small groups of workers who can only pay their bills monthly, if paid fortnightly, may be placed in a difficulty, and this is not likely to be overcome unless employers in a particular centre or Government enforce a change in respect of large numbers of workers The introduction of a short period of payment, like some of our other proposals may involve an addition to the nominal or real rate of interest, on the reduced sums that will be borrowed, but here again we fall back on our main proposition regarding the danger of credit. To give the money-lender greater security in respect of recoveries, e.g., by compelling all employers to collect his debts, would bring down the interest rates, but it would be ruinous to the borrowers. We wish to make the borrowing of substantial sums difficult, not easy. A reduction of the period would enhance the difficulties of collecting debts and would thus assist in securing that reduction in the worker's capacity to borrow which we believe to be of such fundamental importance. Finally, in a number of cases, the opposition of the jobbers to a change is influential. These men, who are frequently money-lenders themselves and sometimes act as intermediaries in securing loans, and whose anxiety not to relax any hold over the workers is greater than that of the employers, are not likely to favour any step which tends to make the workers more independent.