JULY 2013 BACK ISSUE Migration is an important feature of human civilization. It reflects the human endeavour to survive in the most testing conditions, both natural and man-made.  People from the states of Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh (India) travel far afield seeking employment at the lowest rung.  Brick kilns serve as a source of livelihood for thousands of unskilled labourers from across the country.  The seasonal nature of the work attracts migrant labour, many of them landless farmers.  The brick kiln workers are recruited arbitrarily by local contractors.  Exploitation and complete disregard for existing labour laws is rampant in this sector and as the payment is made to the head of each family based on the number of bricks produced, it is not uncommon to find children involved in the process to maximise income.  Children are also often involved in transporting moulds to the baking centre and in drying bricks under the sun.  Unfortunately, in order to produce large numbers of bricks under testing conditions, child labour is key.  The problem of migrant labour is huge and requires cooperation and coordination between the government and other organisations including the trade unions. NGOs, having skilled manpower and resources, can provide research and background. Trade unions with their organizational structures and organizing skills can take on the employers, policy makers and governments for a better deal for migrant workers which in turn contributes to social harmony and sustainable growth. by Rohit Gautam Clay bricks left out in the sun to dry. A women walks carrying a heavy load of bricks on her head at the brick field. Heating furnace containing bricks at the brick field. A man carrying coal blocks over his head. Men and Women work together at the brick field. A man digs out mud to make the clay. A young girl working in brick field shows her hands covered with clay mud used for making bricks. A buffalo cart used to carry finished bricks out of the brick field. A women from the Chhattisgarh, state of India, takes a call in between work at the brick field. Laying out fresh bricks. A migrant worker from Orissa. A migrant worker from Bihar, carries bricks. Workers preparing to take coal to the heating furnace.
A child watches her mother working at the at the brick field. A child carrying a stack of coal at the brick kilns. A girl working at the brick field . A girl is seen working with her mother at the brick fields. Back to current issue