This Development Viewpoint assesses labour conditions in the ‘peripheral’ segment of the garment industry in the greater Delhi area. It draws on the project paper ‘Labour Regimes in the Garment Sector in India: Home-Based Labour, Peripheral Labour” written by Alessandra Mezzadri of the Development Studies Department of SOAS, University of London.
The discussion highlights that the earnings and living conditions of peripheral workers can vary significantly. Some of them earn income that can approximate the income received by workers in the more organised, ‘formal’ segment of the garment industry. And for some groups of peripheral workers, such as own-account workers, the quality of their living conditions also appears comparable. However, by all accounts the conditions of individual homeworkers are clearly the worst. Their employment is the most variable and unreliable and their pay is the lowest. Tellingly, there appears to be a clear gendered basis for this disadvantage: the majority of these workers are poor women, forced to struggle alone to eke out bare subsistence incomes in their own small homes in the face of the irregular and unreliable work orders of external contractors.
Centre for Development Policy and Research. The Oppressive Labour Conditions of the Working Poor in the Peripheral Segments of India&#8217;s Garment Sector. Development Viewpoint (2014) Number 81, July 2014, 2 pp.