Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Covid Care Diary: Reaching out to the Garment Factory Workers

MSJ, Bangalore: 28th April 2020

Another group of people who have been struggling during this time of Covid lockdown are garment factory workers. Strangely, majority of them happen to be women, both young and old, who run their families. Around our Mount Saint Joseph campus there are a number of garment factories. Usually, when they are working you'll find a number of buses coming from the rural Bangalore bringing the work force in private buses. We would see lines and lines of busses parked around. Some of the garment factories next to our campus produce world class export quality readymade clothings and shirtings. The brands are internationally well known and locally not sold. 
During our Covid care kit relief work we met a number of these workers who work in the garment factories. An area around the Bannerghatta Road is known as weaver's colony. A sizeable number of students who attend our Loyola Primary, Higher Primary, High school, Composite College and Degree College come from weaver's colony. 

The people who work in garment factories are marginalised people. They have no voice of their own. Recently, when we distributed our Covid care kits to these people many things came to light. Sadly, since the lockdown began, the garment factories are closed. People who have believed in their livelihood by working in these factories are completely shattered. There is no work, hence, no pay.

For our dismay, we found that owners of these garment factories are not paying them when they are not at work. Even though, government is insisting on paying the wages in the time of Covid lockdown, strangely it's not happening. Certainly, the owners must be having valid reasons. At least government should think of paying PF funds (Provident Fund) to the workers. It seems to us that garment factory workers needed only in good times. In other words, they are the people who can be made use of when profit is sure.

There are a number of factors that are troubling when you analyse the life of these garment factory workers. In spite of living within the city limits of Bangalore, some how or the other education has made very little impact on these people. What they have got is some kind of literacy, but badly received literacy.  Since women work in these factories, they are the bread winners of their families. A lot of families are run by a single parent. They live in rented places. How will they pay the rents now? Covid lockdown has really brought them on their knees.

Both the central and state governments are promising a lot to the daily wage earners during this lockdown. Unfortunately, so far nothing has reached the pockets of these struggling families. Looks like either the government does not know the ground reality of our people or does not like to know the reality itself.

Reported by Olvin Veigas, SJ

28th April 2020

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"Our deeds of love speaks louder than words." Yes, dear fathers, your real thirst to become the voice of the voiceless is incredible.My humble salute to you all.