Nation Current Affairs 20 Apr 2016 Bengaluru garment wo ...

Bengaluru garment workers: Underpaid, harassed since the 70s

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | M G CHETAN
Published Apr 20, 2016, 3:24 am IST
Updated Apr 20, 2016, 3:24 am IST
The readymade garment industry in Bengaluru goes back over four decades.
The police seemed to have learnt no lessons from their failure to anticipate Monday’s protests.
 The police seemed to have learnt no lessons from their failure to anticipate Monday’s protests.

Bengaluru: The readymade garment industry in Bengaluru goes back over four decades and in the seventies was recognised as the readymade clothing hub of South  India. Garment factories mushroomed all over the city due to the easy availability of lower middle class workers in both urban and rural Bengaluru. Until this time there was  no concept of a garment industry as textile merchants  delivered material to tailors in their houses to get them stitched.

But around 1975, they began to bring several tailors under the same roof, giving birth to the garment factories. Initially, the workforce was made up largely of men, but women were later increasingly recruited as they provided cheaper labour.  In just a few years Bengaluru’s garment industry emerged as the clothing major of the whole of south India.

 

Today the city has around 2,000 garment factories employing around five lakh people, of whom 85 per cent are women. Industry insiders say  40 to 50 companies control the entire industry, with each running over 50 or 75 factories. Most of the readymade garments made  are exported to Europe, the United  States, UAE, South Africa, Canada, Hong  Kong, Singapore, Australia and other countries. “Even international brands are tailored here and exported,” says a manager of a garment factory.

In fact,  Bengaluru is the third largest readymade garment exporter of the country, next only to the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai, which are in first and second place respectively. Now the industry is growing beyond the city, with hundreds of factories coming up in other districts as well. Though the official number of factories in the state is around 1,700, industry experts say there are over 2,500 in reality, and of them around 2,000 are located in Bengaluru alone.

 

Though the industry has empowered rural women by providing them jobs, they are not treated well, they reveal. “Starting from gender bias to sexual harassment, women employees face several problems. Though they are supposed to work for only eight hours, they put in at least ten hours,” complains Ms Pratibha R, president of  the Garment and Textile Workers’ Union.

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Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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