Labour Investigation Committee (1946)||
The wage level in the mica industry is probably the lowest in India with the exception perhaps of certain unregulated industries like shellac and bidi making, the wages in the factory section of the industry are lower than those in the mining section. The reason why in spite of the low wage level in the industry the workers are not seeking alternative sources of employment are: firstly, the work is not strenuous and secondly practically whole families of workers appear to be working either in factories or in their own homes. In the mining section, however, the work is extremely strenuous and risky. In the case of bigger mines wages have gone up by 80 per cent. since 1938. This is particularly true of the mines situated in the Kodarma Reserve Forest. On the other hand, in areas like Masnodih and Gawn, the wages are lower than those paid in other areas largely because the labour is immobile being closely attached to agriculture. There are appreciable differences also in the wages paid. by the bigger and smaller mine owners. The following summary table shows the wages in 1939 and 1944 in principal occupations in mica mines.
Daily Earnings in Mica Mines Occupation 1939 1944 Rise%
The figures in the above table are inclusive of allowances. Only one or two concerns pay a separate dearness allowance at the rate of as. 2 in a rupee of earnings.
Wages in mines proper are always paid directly to the workers. In the case of uparchalla workings, however, which are mostly done through contractors, wages to ordinary workers are not paid directly but are
paid through or by the contractor. In most of the mines, the period of wage payment is a week though in a few it is a fortnight. The wage period is so adjusted that the worker gets payment one day before the market day. There are two types of deductions made from wages: (a) general, and (b) special. Every worker earning more than one rupee in the week is required to contribute compulsorily one piece towards the Goshala Fund This is a general deduction. On festive occasions like Puja, Holy, Diwali, etc., special deductions are made. It is understood that during Puja, every worker is required to contribute two day's earnings towards a fund which is managed by the miners' managers and sweets are distributed to all the workers. In the larger mines there are no complaints about delay in payment. In the case of small mines, how ever, payments are delayed sometimes even by a fortnight.
In the mica manufacturing concerns, as stated already, the wage level is lower than that in the mines. It appears that the basic wages have gone up by about 15 to 20 per cent. In several concerns dearness allowance is paid at varying rates ranging between 10 and 30 per cent. The following table shows the ages in selected important occupations in some of the sampled factories:—
Rates of Wages paid to Men, Women and Children employed in important Occupations in Selected Mica Factories
|Factory No.||Cutters||Sorters||Condenser makers||Wrapper makers||Screeners||Packers|
|C/1/M||090||0 12 0||0 12 0||0 10 0||070|
|W||0 10 0||0 10 0||0 6 0|
|C .||0 3 6||046||066||066||030|
|C/2/M||0 1 3||080||0 10 0||0 10 0||0 8 0||070|
|W||Per seer||0 10 0||0 10 0||056|
|C .||Per seer||0 5 0||0 6 0||0 6 0||030||040|
|C/3/M .||086||090||096||070||0 8 0|
|C .||040||046||0 6 0||036|
|C/4/M .||0 9 0||0 12 0||0 10 0||0 8 0|
|C/5/M .||. 086||0 10 0||050||076|
|C .||036||0 8 0||Per seer on||0 3 6||050|
|C/6/M||0 8 0||0 9 6||0 8 6|
|C||0 3 6||0 6 0||0 4 0|
|C/7/M||0 12 0||0 10 0|
|W||0 9 0|
|C||0 4 0||0 7 0|
|C/8/M||0 12 0||0 10 0|
|C||0 4 0|
The main point to be noted about wages in such factories is that not only are they low in an absolute sense, but there is considerable amount of sweating especially of female and child labour which is available at low rates of wages. Moreover, owing to the restrictive purchase policy of the Joint Mica Mission wages have been showing declining trend.
As regards home workers, their wages have remained stationary. It was stated by the employers that they were not in a position to increase the wages or give in adequate dearness allowance for the reason that the Joint Mica Mission's prices for mica were not much higher than pre-war prices.