ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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RAJASTHAN-Laws and the Poor A Paradox

workers was not paying the fixed wages to its unskilled labourers, This company was, one of the six "zonal" contract companies, as distinct from the 530 petty contractors who also take sub-contracts from the HSCL. It was a historic event for the faction-ridden trade union movement at Bokaro, where 17 registered trade unions function hut on!y one is 'recognised', when three major unions launched a joint move against the company. The leaders of the Bokaro Steel Employees Union (Congress), the Bokaro Steel Workers Union (INTUC) and the Ispat Kampar Union (AITUC) filed a strong petition before the BSCL managing director. The state labour department was then approached and a date was fixed for making a surprise check of the payment of wages at the construction site. Accordingly, an inspecting team paid a Surprise' visit. It .sat through the payment of wages to workers on the day. At the end of the payments, it called for the company's wage ledger and the leader of the team scribbled on the margin "Fair wages paid''. Every member of the inspecting team then endorsed this comment. What was surprising was that none of the members of the inspecting team noticed the clusters of workers outside the site who were asking each other in amazement "My God, did you too get Rs 6.35 today?" But the pleasant astonishment of the workers was short-lived; the next day the company ordered them to return the difference between the wages paid to them the previous day and the actual wages they were being paid. When some of the workers said they had already spent the 'surplus', the company told them that the amount would be treated as advance wages. The company had been paying a maximum of Rs 4 to male unskilled workers and Rs 3.50 to woman labourers, against the IISCL-fixed daily wage of lis 6.35.

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