In a primarily agricultural based country, the textile sector in India is by and large the second largest employment generator. Currently, employing more than 50 million people, both directly and indirectly. Being the largest cotton producer globally, we stand next to China in the line of largest exporters of clothing and apparels. Textile industry in India holds the prominence of being one of the oldest industrial enterprises of the country.
However, the industry still predominantly uses traditional and outdated methods and machineries, except a few private or sizeable factories, for treating, dyeing, printing, finishing as well as for manufacturing. Given the industry’s size, it is inevitably flawed mostly around factors such as low wages, poor working conditions, vast disparity between workers and factory/industry owners and so on.
Subsequently, we will try to list down a number of tips for working professionals working in textile industries.
The humongous textile industry involves skilled as well as unskilled workers from among the equally large population of the country. When manufacturing processes like pre-treatment, dyeing knitting, etc. are practised, it involves some heavy machinery, equipment and chemicals. Like cloth finishing machines, knitting machines, textile spinning machines. These machines require skilled and trained hands to handle them to avoid any accidents. Often, they (machines) are so intricately designed that, if not operated properly, could cause major accidents.
Thus, try to get yourself trained by a senior or professional for safe environment.
Let your legs rest frequently
Congested small scale textile industries require its workers to stand for longer periods of time to work. This could result in muscle pain, extreme tiredness, swelling or in some workers blood accumulation near the ankles that could develop into a varicose veins. It is necessary that you avoid this to happen and try to sit more at work. Even while using the sewing machine take multiple breaks and have mercy on your legs (as well as your hands).
Ask for protective gears and wear them properly
In processes such as cleaning the cotton harvest to remove its seeds, residual soil and pesticides, it releases cotton dust which when inhaled could cause lung diseases. Although, it’s not foolproof, but using personal protective equipment especially masks could be handy and its necessary that you ask for such protective gears if or when it’s not provided.
Learn to diffuse fires
Industrial environments are highly prone to fires be it minor or major. Huge stacks of cotton or silk or any other fabric, artificial or man-made, and other chemicals present that are particularly flammable. Installation and spontaneous use of fire extinguishers becomes essential in such settings. Thus, learn to use a fire extinguishers or even fire hose if available.
Replace extremely harmful/toxic chemicals
Textile industries not only include heavy duty machineries but also excessively toxic chemicals. Phthalates for printing, perfluorinated chemicals for waterproofing fabrics, acids for dyeing or anti-stains and a lot more chemical substances are used that more often than not cling on to the fabric forever. Synthetic microfiber released in processes leaves an impact on the environment. Replacing these substances with less toxicity could have substantially better results.
Get an insurance
Although, some workers have on-premise insurance or compensations, its always better to have personal or government/state granted insurance plan to facilitate financial and health benefits.
Know about workers’ committee and your rights
Textile workers, either domestic or commercial have been subjected to exploitation in one way or the other. A workers’ committee could help you to realise your rights (safe working conditions, minimum wage, etc.), moreover, they could help in demanding or questioning the authorities for fair conduct.
Learn about online retailing market
If you are a skilled textile working professional and wish to try your hand at an e-commerce clothing venture or the like, then learn about how online retailing markets work and how brands, tiny or large, pander to its audience and product distribution works online. If nothing, explore for better understanding of alternative markets.
Invest in Khadi based ventures
Khadi or Khadar, serves as an apt symbol of historical heritage of India. After khadi industry’s undoing by the British, not long after the independence, the government tried to re-establish Khadi production and its markets by setting up ‘Khadi and Villiage Industrial Commission’. The Modi government has been successful to encourage the said business by granting loans and funds to set up ventures. Although, Khadi do seem to be a niche, it has had a substantial growth in last few years.
Thus, investing in anyway, would not proof to be a waste.
Don’t exploit anyone
A sizeable chunk of textile industry employs rural, migrated and economically weaker population, who are almost always taken advantage of because of their circumstances. If you are an employer in the textile industry and believe in its collective growth then its advisable to have better ethical practices.