In the stifling heat and noise, utensil makers in Madurai spend long days hammering designs onto pots. Many of these men have done this work for decades and risk accumulated hearing loss, respiratory problems and other injuries. But things are changing for the better.
Since forming a co-operative this year they have made significant improvements to their working conditions for their 90 members. They have introduced health and safety measures such as better seating, ear muffling and masks. They also successfully negotiated a new improved piece rate structure which factors in cost of living increases, but falls short of the decent pay they and their families deserve.
These changes to health and safety show the difference working collectively can make and the utensil makers are motivated to continue their struggle for a better life.