In this episode of Behind the Label, Jayashree, a garment worker, talks about working at a garment factory.
Jayashree was born into a poor family and was one of four children in the household. As her father couldn’t afford to send her to a college, she stopped her education after class 10. Later, she joined an agarbatti-making factory and worked there for a year. On her friend’s suggestion, she joined a washing unit at a garment factory as a checker.
There are two types of fabrics which undergo washing in the factory and Jayashree was assigned the checking of the fabrics which came out after washing. They get forwarded to the grinding machine after the checks and then, on to the stocking section. She is supposed to check the colour on the fabrics, whether they are off or too bright in shade. “In this unit, there are 100 varieties of colours, so we need to add chemicals related to them and check carefully for any damage. If by chance, a damaged piece goes to the grinding stage, then the quality will get worse. So, we need to be very careful. We also need to reduce the intensity of the colours and improve the colours of a few pieces. No extra pieces should go into the machine as this can alter everything and we will end up getting scoldings. If a lot of damages are noticed, then we risk being removed from work. This will also mean that the orders may become lower.”
In spite of all the work pressures, Jayashree is leading a happy life. She lost her husband to alcohol addiction, so raising their two children became her sole responsibility. She has two brothers who have built good houses for themselves beside her humble sheet house, but these things don’t bother her.