Investigation of Salt Workers in Tamil Nadu


By

Dr. R.L. Ramnath
Principal
Sourashtra College
Madurai-625006

Dr. N. Subburaj
Professor
Department of Management Studies
St. Michael College of Engineering and Technology
KalayarKoil-630551, Sivaganga District, Tamilnadu
 


INTRODUCTION:

Salt industry in Tamilnadu is lab our intensive sector, because it provides more employment to rural agricultural surplus labour force.  Salt manufacturing is one of the oldest non-agricultural activities on the coastal tracts of Tamilnadu.  In the salt production Tamilnadu is standing next to Gujarat.  Gujarat produces 65 percentage of the salt, 20 percentage of the salt from Tamilnadu and the rest from other coastal states.    The present study is an attempt to reveal the salt workers in the Arumuganeri area of Thoothukudi district in Tamilnadu.

OBJECTIVES

1.  To find the prevailing working condition of the salt workers and

2.  To know the wage difference between male and female salt workers. 

3.  To analyse the labour welfare of the salt workers.

4.  To test whether the welfare measures provided by the salt manufacturers are Coincided the ILO recommendation.

METHODOLOGY:

The present study is based on the primary data, collected from the Arumuganeri area.  In the study area nearly 7000 workers are working in the salt Pan.  Among them 2000 workers are women and others are men workers.  Totally 100 sample workers were collected information through interview method in the 100 respondents, 60 were male workers and 40 were female workers.  In the investigation convened the aspects of working time, wages, job security, allowances and other available welfare measures.  Averages and percentages are used for the analysis of data.

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION:

To analyse the salt workers in the Arumuganeri area of Thoothukudi district in Tamilnadu.

AREA UNDER SALT PRODUCTION: 

In the Arumuganeri area totally 2810 acres of land is used for salt production.  Out of this 2000 acres of land is tilled by indigenous (private) manufacturers, 110 acres are in the salt producer's Co-operative society and 700 acres are owned by 'Dhrangadhra Chemical Works' (Chemical company).  The season for salt in this area is middle January to September.  Arumuganeri salt is not only sold in the local market but also sold in the neighbour states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Pondicherry.

I.  WORKING CONDITIONS:

WORKING DAYS:

The working days for salt workers in the Arumuganeri are the entire week.  Suppose any worker absence for the duty, he/she will lose the wage of that day.  In other words no casual leave and no medical leave are given to the salt workers.  So workers usually work in six to seven days per week.

TABLE - 1

WORKING DAYS OF SALT WORKERS

Working days
(per week)

Workers

Male

Female

Six days

16 (26.66%)

15 (37.5%)

Seven days

44 (73.33%)

25 (63.5%)

Total

60 (100%)

40 (100%)

Source:  Field Survey.

The table 1 reveals that the working days of salt of workers in the study area, nearly 70 percentage of the workers work in all the days of the week without taking any leave.  Workers in this area are taking leave only during their sickness, to attend marriages, festivals and any important personal work.

WORKING HOURS:

It varies to male and female workers.  The fixed working hours is 6 to 8 hours.  The working hours for female workers is 6 hours, i.e., early morning 5  O' clock to 11 am. And for male workers the minimum working hour is 7 hours, and maximum is 8 hours.  After working in the salt pan the male workers are engaged in loading the salt and other works.  The working hours difference is the reason for the male and female wage disparity.

LUNCH TIME:

Lunch break is given only for male salt workers.  Female workers leave the salt pan after 11  O' clock.  Therefore for them there is no need of lunch-time.  But male workers are continuously working after 11  O' clock.  In the study area hour is given for lunch break.

II. WAGES:

Wage is the price paid for labour services.  It is defined as 'a sum of money paid under contract by an employer to a worker for services rendered.  In the study area 90 percentage of the workers are paid 'time-wage' and 10 percentages of the workers are paid 'price wage'.  The wage is fixed on the basis of the (a) Sex and (b) criteria.

At present the male workers are paid Rs.60 per day and female workers are paid Rs.54 per day.  At the same time supervisors (kanganis) are paid Rs.70 per day.  Experienced male workers are only appointed as supervisors.  The female workers' wage is little less than male workers, because female workers are working only light works and their working style also little less.  The main work of the supervisors is to allot the works to other co-workers and supervise the labours.   The major works in the salt pan are pudding, watering, scrapping and loading the salt.

III. LABOUR WELFARE

JOB SECURITY:

Job Security motivates the workers to work in the salt pan in efficient manner.  But unfortunately, salt industry is an unorganized sector.  As such there is no job security for the salt workers.  All the salt workers are temporary labourers.  There is no organization working for the salt workers welfare.

BONUS:

Bonus is one of the financial motivation, which is an incentive to increase the productivity of the labour and to maintain the good relationship between producers and workers.  Bonus in the salt industry of Arumuganeri is given on the basis of sex and experience of the workers.

TABLE - 2

YEARLY BONUS FOR THE SALT WORKERS

Bonus in Rs.

Workers

Male

Female

1,000 1,500

8 (13.33%)

10 [28.57% ]

1,500 2,000

20 (33.33%)

25 [ 71.42%]

2,000 2,500

32 (53.38%)

-

Total

60 (100%)

35 (100%)

Source:  Field Survey

The minimum annual bonus is rs.1000 and the maximum is Rs.2500.  The female workers bonus is restricted with Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 and male workers get bonus from Rs.1000 to Rs.2500.  The maximum bonus Rs.2500 is provided to only for well experienced workers and supervisors.

OTHER ALLOWANCES:

Other allowances include the festival allowance, traveling allowance and so on.  The workers of salt industry in Arumuganeri are given only festival allowance which is from Rs.100 to Rs.500.

TABLE - 3

OTHERS ANNUAL ALLOWANCE TO THE SALT WORKERS

Allowance in Rs.

Workers

Male

Female

0 100

-

4 (10%)

100 200

12 (20%)

9 (22.5%)

200 300

24 (40%)

15 (37.5%)

300 400

4 (6.66%)

5 (12.5%)

400 500

20 (33.33%)

7 (17.5%)

Total

60 (100%)

40 (100%)

Source:  Field Survey.

This allowance is fixed on the basis of the nature of the work and experience.  The ordinary workers are received Rs.100 to Rs.200, well experienced workers and supervisors get the bonus upto Rs.500 per year.
 

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Source: E-mail December 15, 2010

          

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