Ch. 7: Question of Labour

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62               THE QUESTION OF LABOUR.
engaged by the day, doing the work by contract. The Balkaras, from the same district, are, on the other hand, sawyers by occupation, and only work with timber.
The system of advances which prevails in the Wynaad is not altogether satisfactory. In short, opinions differ widely as to the best mode of dealing with native labour in the matter of pay. The maistree, or contractor, who receives an advance of perhaps two or three hundred rupees, engages to bring up a gang of coolies by a certain time, and keep them together. He receives a commission of ten per­cent, of the wages earned. On some estates the coolies are paid weekly in full; usually on Saturday, as Sunday is bazaar day at Devala.
The commission is not paid to the contractor, but placed to his credit as against the advance originally paid to him, which is thus gradually worked off. When the term for which he has contracted has been completed, the account is squared, either by payment of the balance due to him, or by receiving from him the balance of his advance which has not been earned by commission. He is then at liberty to enter into a fresh agreement, receiving a further advance. But many planters find it the best policy to pay the com­mission weekly, when they pay the coolies—treating the sum originally advanced as a permanent deposit; the contractor understanding that he is expected to keep up the supply of labour from season to season.
Ch. 7: Question of Labour Page of 99 Ch. 7: Question of Labour
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