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Wages and Working Condition during the Indenture System in Fiji: 1887-1930

Chand, Anand (2017) Wages and Working Condition during the Indenture System in Fiji: 1887-1930. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract Although, a lot has been written on Indenture System in Fiji (Gillion, 1977; Ali, 1980; Lal, 1985) and these authors have touched on the issues of wages and working conditions faced by indentured workers, these issues were not discussed critically and contextualized in any theoretical framework. This paper hopes to fill this research lacuna examining in detail the wage rates, working conditions and exploitation of poor innocent labour by using Marxist theory of ‘labour process’. The research findings show that the Colonial Sugar Refining company exploited workers in number ways: deliberately kept the wages below the living wage; by using a ‘piece rate’ system (not hourly rate) to reduce wage cost; setting ‘work targets’ (tasks) that were difficult to achieve in a day (i.e. work intensification) and encouraging workers to supplement poor wages via vegetable gardening. Moreover, this poor wages was coupled with poor working conditions such as long hours of work, hard labour, working in hot tropical sun, and under the ‘close supervision’ of the sardars who possessed unlimited power over workers. This paper, thus, by providing a detailed critical analysis of wages and working conditions of indentured labour contributes more to our understanding of the exploitation and suffering of the girmit workers (both males and females alike).

Item Type: Other
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Management and Public Administration
Depositing User: Anand Chand
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2017 21:10
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2017 21:10

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