Labour Investigation Committee (1946)||
In the Kolar gold field wages in the different occupations have been standardised and the standardised rates are being paid in all the four mines. There is no system of graded or time-scale promotion as such but in the case of daily rated men, other than apprentices, the rates are increased biennially up to the scheduled maximum. A Wage Census was conducted on a sample basis in the wages and earnings of the workers in the Gold field, the results of which show that among underground occupations the highest paid job is of the Machine Mistry whose average wage is Rs. 1-3-4 per day, this total earnings for a fortnight being Rs. 21-1-9. The lowest basic wage is that of Packwalling coolies being Re. 0-9-4 per day the average earnings including allowances for a fortnight being Rs. 13-2-6. It is seen that nearly half the workers underground are in receipt of a basic wage of about annas nine per day and that their total earnings including all allowances for a fortnight come to about Rs. 13. In regard to contract labour underground, nearly half of which works on a piece-rate basis, the bulk of the workers seem to earn about as. 12 per day and Rs. 14 to Rs. 15 for a fortnight. It should be noted that contract coolies underground are engaged on much more arduous work than company labour. All the surface workers are employed directly by the companies. Among them, the best paid category is of Furnacemen, their average daily net earnings being Rs. 1-9-4 and average fortnightly earnings being Rs. 23-7-1. Among surface workers, a very large proportion are in receipt of a daily wage varying from As 6 to As. 8 and a fortnightly earning of Rs. 10 to Rs. 12. Workers in the Engineering Department work both underground and on the surface. Among them machinist are the best paid, and the lowest paid being coolies. The highest daily wage is Rs. 1-5-7 and the highest average fortnightly earnings Rs. 24-11-6. The bulk of these workers, including coolies, are in receipt of a. daily wage of about Rs. 1-1-0 and a fortnightly earning of about Rs a 21-4-0.
The employers have been paying to their employees a cash dearness allowance since 1942. Those drawing Rs. 40 or below get Rs. 9-8-0 per month as dearness allowance and those getting over Rs. 40 but less than Rs. 80 per month get dearness allowance at the rate of Rs. 10-8-0 per month. The companies also pay a good attendance bonus both to their own men and to contractors labour. The amount of bonus is Rs. 4-8-0 per month to underground workers in receipt of a wage not exceeding Rs. 3 per day while for surface workers it varies from Rs. 2 per month to Rs. 4-8-0 per month. The bonus is paid twice a month. In order to qualify for the bonus no worker either underground or surface can remain absent for more than two shifts (days) out of the total worked during the month. It is seen that nearly 90 per cent. of the company labour and 60 to 70 per cent. of the contract labour qualify for the bonus. In these mines there is also a system of paying a number of special bonuses for good work done such as packwal bonus, hoist bonus. drive bonus. etc.
For several years up about 1940 the basic wage structure in the mines had remained unaltered. In that year, however, the basic daily wage rate was increased by one anna and a similar increase was again granted in 1942. As compared to the pre-war period, earnings in the Kolar Gold Field have gone up by about 75 per cent. while the cost of living index number for Kolar was 212 in March 1945 (on the base 1935-36-100).
Wages are paid directly to the workers employed by the companies as also to underground labour engaged through contractors. It is noticeable that the control over the payment of wages to contract labour is very effective since the companies themselves maintain the pay registers and also make the payments themselves, because under the Mysore Labour Act, they are held responsible not only for their own labour but also for contract labour employed for purposes of their work. The wage period is a fortnight. Although the Payment of Wages Act is not in force in Mysore, the time elapsing between the date on which wages fall due and the day on which payment is made is less than a week. Fines are rarely imposed.