Worker’s case: Ashok

Ashok regularly works up to eight hours of over time, producing for brands like GAP

My name is Ashok Kumar Singh and I am from village of Jaunpur District of Uttar Pradesh. Due to miserable economic conditions, I came to Delhi ten years back with my elder brother. I am working in Modelama Export for the last six years, which makes garments for a brand like GAP.

Even though I work as a layer man, they pay me the semi-skilled grade of Rs. 5097/- per month. This is how our wage theft is done. Salary is so low that six to eight hours overtime is necessary to meet our expenses. My company gives us a double rate for the first two hours and after that a single rate. The increased salary of January was actually paid in April. We never get paid for our late night meal and even gratuity is not paid to the workers.

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The factory canteen doesn’t serve good food and there is no food in the canteen late in the night when we do our overtime. Occasionally, workers have fallen sick after consuming canteen food. There is no facility of clean drinking water, only bore water without filter is available.

The union has two hundred members. We tried to set up a union secretly twice, but we received dead threats and our leaders were terminated from the company.

There is a pressure of targets in the company, each hour has target. Every hour a supervisor or in-charge person makes visit and irritates us. They force us to achieve more targets. If you complete your target in one hour, they just give you a bigger target for the next hour. That means every hour you get a target bigger than the earlier one.

House rent increases twice in one year. We don’t have any residence proof; that’s why we don’t have ration cards or any gas connection. We buy a costly ration and pay double for the gas cylinder.

GAP and other brands come to our company, but they don’t talk to us. They only notice whether the piece is dirty or having stain or dust on it. They have nothing to do with us.

When an auditor came, the manager trained us to tell him that we have less overtime and double rate for doing the overtime; and that we get our overtime payment along with the regular salary.

 

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