Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The indirect employment of unskilled labour is a feature of industry in Burma, and especially in Rangoon. The great bulk of the Indian labour is pot engaged and often is not paid by the principal employer; he employs a maistry or a contractor and the labour is generally engaged by sub-maistries or sub-contractors. There are one or two striking exceptions, such as, for example, the Burmah Oil Company. But broadly speaking, there is no part of India where responsibility for labour .is delegated to the extent prevailing in Burma. The extreme case is that of the leading factory industry, rice milling. Here the head maistry who, on getting the contract, deposits a substantial sum of money, is responsible for the supply of unskilled labour. He may sub-let the contract, but whether he does or not, most of the labour owes its engagement to men who have no contractual relations with the employer. They hold the labour with the assistance of different types of monetary agreements, and the labourers are generally in debt to them. Mr Bennison, in the report to which we have referred, states that:—
" Practically all the paddy carriers and the bagging and stitching coolies are indebted to their sub-maistries.... The paddy carriers recruited in India always arrive in this country indebted to the sub-maistries and usually remain so for the rest of their lives. Whenever they want to return to India, the sub-maistry allows them only on condition that they come back when required."