Nadia’s Story

Nadia and her husband both work in the garment industry. Together they earn 10,000 Rupees (less than €150) per month. They have 4 children. Nadia wants her children to study but is finding it difficult to educate them due to their low wages.

Nadia suffers from the same problems as her male colleagues. She feels that the biggest problem is the deductions taken from their wages for a Provident Fund, which provides a pension for workers. They are given no proof of this payment, meaning they cannot benefit from their entitlements. She believes the Profident Fund needs to be used properly and that this would make a difference to them. Other problems experienced in their company include forced overtime paid at the single instead of double rate.

On top of these problems she is also paid less than her male counterparts simply because she is a woman. On average Nadia earns 20-30 Rupees less than the male workers in her company. This is a significant amount considering she earns 200 Rupees (less than €3) per day.

When she has enough money Nadia would like to move back to her home in Uttar Pradesh and start her own business, but she can’t save money because of her low wages.

Amir’s Story

Amir moved to Gurgaon 10 years ago. He has been working as a tailor in his current company for the last 4 years. He works 50-60 hours of compulsory overtime each month. If he refuses he’ll be fired. He is paid at the single rate for overtime work. He knows he should be paid at the double rate but is afraid that if he starts raising questions about his legal rights he will be fired.

He is not happy with his living conditions. He lives in a small room with his wife and two children. His landlord has a ration shop and he is forced to buy his food from this shop which is more expensive than the normal market. The shared toilets are dirty and the water is not clean. He earns about 5000 Rupees per month. His rent is 2000 Rupees. The remaining 3000 Rupees are spent on food, his children’s education and clothing for his family.

Deductions are taken from his wages for Employee State Insurance (ESI) and the workers’ Provident Fund (social insurance, benefits and pension). He doesn’t know where these deductions go but he doesn’t benefit from them. If someone in his family gets sick they can’t go to the ESI hospitals as he doesn’t receive a payslip or any written proof of the deductions he has paid. So Amir is forced to borrow money to pay for medical care and gets into debt as his wages are not enough to cover these expenses.

Amir doesn’t have any future plans as he feels that things are out of his hands. He can’t go back to his home town as there is no work there, but he also can’t survive on what he earns in Gurgaon.