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We pay more than stipulated wages: Firms

business Updated: Aug 10, 2010 00:11 IST
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In the spotlight for allegations including low cost of wages, overtime and child labour, domestic apparel makers have hit back saying the wages paid in the sector are higher than the minimum wages stipulated by the government and much higher than competing economies like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam.

"A worker is keen to work overtime as it gets him double the wages for the extra hour;" said Sudhir Dhingra, CMD, Orient Craft, one of India's largest apparel exporters.

"We fully comply with the international and Indian labour laws..."

Recent reports have highlighted a minimum wage of Rs 20 per hour being paid to workers in India who also work overtime. But this rate is more than the Rs 100 per day average wage stipulated by the government. It is also higher than the rates in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam.

"Minimum wage is for an unskilled rookie," said Rajendra Hinduja, who heads India's largest apparel export firm Gokaldas Exports.

"A worker can expect to earn over Rs 200 per day on gaining some skill sets."

The allegations are not new.

The Indian apparel industry is currently contesting a US department of labour decision to put the country in its executive order pertaining to "forced or indentured child labour".

If the move goes through, it will have a massive impact on sourcing of garments from India.

"Due to the success of National Rural Employment Gurantee Act we are paying more to our workers now," said Premal Udani, chairman, Apparel Exporters Promotional Council.