NEW DELHI: There is a need for the government to ensure compliance of better work conditions, and improve access to social protection measures, said a survey on the post-lockdown work conditions of industrial sector workers.
The survey was conducted between October 16 - October 21.
Of the 362 workers surveyed, 60 per cent reported they were out of work, and of those who were working, they were getting erratic work for three-four days a week and were staring at job insecurity, said the survey 'On Dangerous Grounds: Moving towards an institutionalisation of inequality and exploitation' conducted by social enterprise Gram Vaani.
The survey covered industrial workers from automotive, footwear, garments, and other sectors who were based out of Haryana, Delhi, and Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu. The maximum number of survey participants were based out of Haryana.
The garments sector workers were more severely hit than the others with 20 per cent workers saying their earnings dropped by more than Rs 2,000 per month.
Workers in large factories were marginally better off. Random inspections were also being conducted in order to keep a check on workers.
"The post-lockdown working conditions for industrial sector workers seem to be worse than what they were before the pandemic set in. Less work is available now, earnings have dropped, but work intensity has increased and output expectations from the workers are more. A shift is also seen towards informalisation, as work is outsourced to smaller units that operate on piece-rate instead of regular employment," said Aaditeshwar Seth, co-founder at Gram Vani.
"There is inadequate attention paid to fixing the social security systems and to making laws more easily accessible to the workers to hold employers accountable," he added.
While overtime compliance remained poor, there was a shift towards piece-rate work from regular salary based employment, the survey said.
Workers faced discouraging experience when it came to accessing social security like PF and ESI, and consequently lost their faith in in the social security system. The analysis said workers instead preferred to work on piece-rate with cash payments, foregoing PF and ESI contributions, so that they get more cash in hand.
There was a significant unfit demand for PF withdrawals. With growing unemployment and less wages, workers wanted to withdraw funds from their PF but 30 per cent in the automotive sector and 40 per cent in the garment sector failed to do it, the survey said.