The Life and Times of Migrant Workers in Chennai
Based on the survey of migrant workers in construction, manufacturing and services in Chennai region of Tamil Nadu. This chapter analyses the working and living conditions of temporary migrant workers. The entire sample represent inter-state migrant workers and most of them are from Eastern India comprising of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar. Half of the random sample end up with schedule caste. Two thirds of the workers in construction are illiterate, which about 55% in manufacturing are with education upto high school or more. The main motivation is employment and better wages. Most of the migrants have working day of nine hours or more, and in construction industry about one-fourth of them work for 13 hours a day. All of them are casual workers with out any written contract. The earning range from about Rs. 6000 to about Rs. 8000 per month across all trades and average about Rs. 7000, and of which, majority of cases, more than half is remitted home. Commitment to help their households is their high priority. Social Security measures do not exist in many cases. The author recommends separate welfare board for all migrant workers.
This chapter is based on our large study on “The Life and Times of Migrant Workers in Chennai” sponsored by the Sankaran Chair at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad. The author thanks the NIRD&PR for financial support for this project. He also thanks the respondents for their support during the fieldwork. This chapter is a revised version of the paper presented at the International Conference on Labor and Employment Issues in the Context of Emerging Rural-Urban Continuum: Dimensions, Processes and Policies organized by the NIRD&PR, Hyderabad under the S. R. Sankaran Chair (Rural Labor), March 12–14, 2015.