There has been speculation in recent news about the maltreatment of the workers in Indian stone quarries. One particular investigation took place in Bangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
The first quarry that was visited was situated north of the city near Mount Shivaganga. In this particular quarry the workers were completely without protection for their hands, feet and eyes, and they spent their days splitting blocks with hammers and chisels. In this quarry the workers were paid £1.50 ($3) a day for their hard work. Twelve migrant workers slept in just one room. Most were once farmers who had been driven from their land by drought. However despite the tough work, low pay and health and safety standards illegal in the West, there was little sense of misery or desperation.
The next quarry to be investigated had blocks of stone about the size of a camper van piled up ready for export. Chipping away at these huge blocks was a man with one leg. This man had lost his leg in a quarry blasting accident. He still worked though, knocking off the rough edges. There was more evidence of management at this particular quarry and the enquires that were made about pay and work conditions resulted in few answers and the investigators being led off the premises.
The following day the investigation travelled south of Bangalore to a granite quarry where old women and children were breaking rocks. The investigators spoke to one family, who were all nestled under a windbreak in a dusty bowl. It emerged that the father had taken a loan at the beginning of the year from the quarry’s owners and had to work until it was paid off. This is what is known as bonded labour and leaves the family tied to the job. The father of the family told the investigators that if they tried to quit and leave the quarry then they would be returned by force. Once again, despite the harsh conditions, the family showed great dignity and resilience. They do not like living in a quarry but they have to eat!
Here at Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire we feel such working conditions are appalling and we take great pride in ensuring that our Indian Stone Flags are sourced from an ethically sound company in India that does not subject their workers to such atrocious conditions.
Our Indian Stone supplier has assured us here at Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire that they conform to the Ethical Trading Initiative’s (ETI) Base Code. Our supplier provided us with the following statement when questioned about this issue:
“We like to assure you that we do not use child labour neither at quarry or the stockyard. There are certain labour laws in India which we adhere to such as, proper clothing, minimum wages for a days work, insurance, food etc. All these issues are seriously taken care of at our company and we can assure you that all our materials are ethically sourced natural stones!”
Contact us now here at Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire to hear more about our Indian Stone Flags.