Dalit Workers take Control
By establishing their own cooperatives, nearly 300 Dalit workers around Madurai will now have the chance to contract directly for jobs. For 85 construction workers, previously on casual or daily wages, this provides job security and better health and safety. Poorly paid catering workers can avoid the middle men who take a large cut of their earnings, and the jaggery (unrefined sugar) producers will firstly bargain for higher wages, then eventually establish their own jaggery production plant.
Under the guidance of the Tamil Nadu Labour Union, UnionAID’s project partner, these workers have learnt new skills essential for running a cooperative, including management and governance, and started to put aside money to buy the tools of their trade.