Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The last 25 years, then, have seen a great reduction in nominal hours, accompanied by a growth in the efficiency of the operatives and of the mills. It does not follow that the effect of the reduction from 12 hours to 10 will be repeated if a further reduction is made. As hours are lessened, a point must be reached at which, even if the industry can maintain production by employing shifts, the operatives cannot face a further reduction of earning capacity. But the evidence shows that this stage has not been reached and that, with a reduction of hours, it would be possible and, if there were co-operation between employers and employed, easy not merely to maintain but to increase the average production per operative employed. Nor is the operative the only party who can increase his efficiency. Actual machine efficiency is now generally high, but some mills work with obsolete plant, and in several directions improvements in organisation are possible. Finally, a reduction in the hours of the individual operative need not mean a reduction in the hours worked by the industry. One difficulty in the way of reducing hours is that in some departments, notably spinning, production is now mainly dependent on the machine rather than the man. But a wider adoption of shifts would enable the industry to maintain production, even if the average output per operative fell, and to increase it greatly when market conditions justified such a course. It would also afford possibilities of reducing the incidence of overhead costs. A recommendation, which we make later in respect of women's work, is designed to facilitate the working of two short shifts. We recognise that in some centres the extension of shifts will add to the difficulties of the authorities in respect of housing. But we believe that, if Indian industry is to expand profitably in competition with other countries, it will be advisable to make more use of the machinery and plant. The growth of shift systems is a probable development, whether hours are reduced or not.