Full text: Report on an enquiry into wages and hours of labour in the cotton mill industry, 1926

From April 1918 the concession of purchasing dal also was given to all adult operatives. 
Children or half-timers got half the concession and Jobbers were granted grain worth one 
rupee more. The scales for deductions are irrespective of market prices. The mills 
reported that a general rise in basic wages was given in April 1920 after the strike of that 
year. Hours of work were at the same time reduced from 12 to 10. As in the case of 
the Laxmi and the Vishnu Mills, the Sholapur Spinning and Weaving Mills also commen- 
ced giving a High Prices Allowance as a separate percentage on basic rates from February 
1920. All fixed wage earners and Reelers and Winders (i.e., female operatives working 
on a piece-rate basis), were granted an allowance of 15 per cent. and male piece-workers 
an allowance of 30 per cent. respectively. There have been no changes in the scales of the 
Dearness Allowances since November 1920. It will have been observed that there were 
‘hree separate increases in wages in the mills in Sholapur during the year 1920: (1) 
substantial increases in basic rates, (2) the first grant of a Dearness Allowance as a per- 
centage on the earnings accruing from the consolidated basic rates, and (3) the doubling 
of this allowance in the case of all time workers and female operatives and an increase of 
five per cent. in the allowance for male piece workers. 
The Indian Tariff Board (Cotton Textile Industry Enquiry) appointed by the 
Government of India in the year 1926 to investigate, infer alia, the condition of the Cotton 
Textile Industry in India and to make recommendations, found that ““ by far the greatest 
lifficulty in the case of manufacture from which Bombay suffers in comparison with 
Ahmedabad and other upcountry centres is in its high cost of labour and that the only 
alternative to a reduction in wages in the Bombay mill industry is increased labour effi- 
~iency, and it is in this direction that the true line of advance lies ”. 
The report also suggested the adoption of a system of standardised wages for the same 
slags of work as between mill and mill. Such a standardisation would help to strengthen 
the position of the industry. The Millowners’ Association took up the question and drew 
up a scheme which provided that all operatives except weavers would get at least the 
same average wages that they had been getting provided they worked with reasonable 
sfficiency but there should be a cut of 7} per cent. in the present average wage of 
weavers. The standardisation scheme followed in the main the uniform lists in 
Lancashire. The Bombay Strike Enquiry Committee appointed after the strike of 1928 
went in detail into this scheme and made numerous recommendations regarding it. 
The Millowners® Association proposed to bring a detailed Standardisation Scheme into 
operation with effect from lst October 1929 after discussing these recommendations 
with the representatives of labour. In view of the fact, however, that the joint 
discussions on the Committee’s Report broke down on the 24th April 1929 in consequence 
of the refusal of the Millowners’ Association to agree to the reinstatement of 6,060 hands 
displaced as a result of the three strikes in the Wadia group of mills in Bombay, and also 
in view of the progress of the general strike in the Bombay cotton mills on this question 
which lasted from 26th April to 17th September, it was not possible for the Association to 
bring the scheme into operation with effect from the date proposed. At the moment cf 
writing no information is available as to the date from which the Association now proposes 
to standardise wages in the Bombav mills. 
Mo B 36—12

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