Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Before leaving the discussion of factors affecting the worker's income, it is convenient to deal with the deductions made from his wages. In 1926 the Government raised the question of the desirability of legislation regulating the extent to which fines and other deductions from wages might be made by employers. As a result enquiries were instituted and a, considerable mass of information on the subject was collected, especially in Bombay by the Labour Office. With the exception of Bombay provincial Governments appear to have agreed that there was no need for legislation. We have had at our disposal the results of the enquiries made at that time and received a considerable amount of further evidence bearing on the subject. It appears that fining is a fairly general practice in perennial factories and on railways. It is much less common in mines and other forms of industrial activity and is practically unknown on plantations. So far as factories are concerned, the practice appears to be most prevalent in cotton textile mills, and for this reason it probably attains greater dimensions in the Bombay Presidency than elsewhere. The aggregate loss of wages by fines is nowhere large, and in all but a few centres it is extremely small. When the Bombay Labour Office made its enquiries in 1926, it found that in the Ahmedabad textile mills which furnished returns the workers lost in fines no less than one per cent of the total wages bill. But this is altogether exceptional, as, we hope, is the practice also found in Ahmedabad of permitting the individual who inflicts the fine to benefit by it. The average loss per worker, however, is little indication of the hardship involved in fines, and this can be serious in individual cases. It has to be remembered that numerous deductions of other kinds are also made by some employers. For example, medical attendance, education, reading rooms, interest on advances of their own wages, charities, religious purposes selected by the employer and various other benefits or causes are made the ground of compulsory deductions. A common practice in the cotton textile mills is the handing over to the weaver of cloth from his own loom spoilt in the course of manufacture and the deduction from his wages of the wholesale selling price. Another practice followed in some mills is the deduction of two days' pay for one day's absence.