Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The prevailing basic rates of wages in the Madras Presidency are 7 annas a day for men, 5 annas a day for women and 3 to 4 annas a day for children, in Coorg the basic rates are 6 annas for men, 4 annas for women and 2 to 3 annas for children. These rates are dependent on the performance of a daily task which varies from garden to garden. Work commences from 7-30 A. M. and continues till 4-30 P. M. with a break at noon for an hour or so. We were informed that the worker of ordinary capacity can finish his daily task well within this time and, if he chooses, can also earn more by doing additional tasks; but, in the absence of any reliable statistics of the average earnings of the workers, we are not in a position to judge how far they supplement their daily wages by extra piece work. Plucking is paid for at contract rates, and we understand that the workers are then able to earn considerably more than their standard daily rates. In addition to wages, a bonus. is paid in some areas to workers for regular attendance.
Thus, in the Nilgiris and in Coorg a bonus of 4 annas is paid to the worker for six days' work in the week. The labourers are employed in gangs under their maistry who is generally paid a small monthly wage; but his main source of remuneration is a commission on the total earnings of the men employed under him. The commission is usually equal to 10% of the worker's earnings, but in Coorg this is raised to 15% in The case of those workers who have not received an advance from the estate. As we have shown earlier, the final settlement of wages is not made till the end of the contract period, which is usually from the 1st of June till the 31st of March. The weekly payments made for the workers' subsistence are Re. 1 to Re. 1-4 for men and 12 annas to Re. 1 for women. These are not always paid in cash, and in the Nilgiris and the Anamalais the estates issue rice at concession rates to men and women and make a petty cash payment of 4 annas a week to each adult worker. The bonus, where paid, is included in the weekly disbursement, and on most estates the worker, if he so desires, may draw weekly the amount which he has earned above the daily rate. At the time of the final settlement the worker usually has a credit balance which he can take to his home. The amount naturally varies with each worker, but from the evidence which we received, the average would Appear to be between Rs. 30 and Rs. 40. In some cases workers have been known to return with as much as Rs. 100. Sometimes, if it is believed that the worker will return to the estate for the next season's work, this amount is supplemented by a fresh advance and by the expenses of the journey.