Poorvika Mobiles give glimpses of Saudi Arabia; blatantly flout labour laws
External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj displayed great concerns in the month of August this year for the starving workers stranded in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia. Mammoth relief too extended quickly once the issue surfaced in the public domain. Thanks to Swaraj’s unquestionable commitment and responsibility to save the poor toiling in the scorching heat of Saudi.
Diksha, a former employee of Poorvika Mobiles, South India’s one of the largest mobile distributor and service company, left her job recently. Poorvika operates in three states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. In fact, condition in the workplace is not bad as compare to Saudi Arabia but what is worrisome is treacherous working hours that saddeningly offer a glimpse of Middle East’s pathetic labours’ plight. “I was forced to work for 12 hours a day. If I take on duty at 8 am in the morning, I have to work till 8 pm and only half-an-hour leisure is provided for lunch break.”
Diksha failing to sustain the burden of working hours decided sign off from Poorvika Mobiles. As per the Factories Act 1948, every adult (a person who has completed 18 years of age) cannot work for more than 48 hours in a week and not more than 9 hours in a day. For companies like Poorvika Mobiles – Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishment Act is applicable. According to this law employees are not allowed to work over 9 hours and 48 hours a week. In case they work for more than 9 hours it must be recognised as Over Time and due payment should be made to employees. Violation stands punishment.
However, Poorvika Mobile allegedly appears to be blatantly flouting the rule in their bad quest to net more profit at the cost suffering employees. Another employee Sarawan (name changed) who is currently working in this company reiterated what Diksha has lamented. He said maximum of 12 hours is mandatory working hours for the employees in Poorvika. Besides, a day’s leave is liable to salary deduction. “The company does not grant casual leave to its employees and if we take leave, a small portion from the stipulated salary will be deducted mercilessly.” Alongside, national holidays too barred in Poorvika.
Sarawan says he did not dare to take leave as it would hurt his financial commitments. Another employee who wished secrecy told Samachara that Poorvika treats its employees harshly with no week offs. He or she has to work 7 days a week. Mainly workers in the sales section are subjected to this ordeal.
According sources in the HR department of Poorvika Mobiles, during the inspection by the labour department, employees are forced to omit lie to the department to save the uncivilised and unhealthy culture of the company. “Last time during the inspection, when an officer questioned on week offs, Casual Leaves and working hours, all lied fearing ouster from the company. Many employees hail from economically marginalised section. They have no option but to listen to the dictates of the seniors of the company.
A senior HR official from Poorvika Mobile termed allegations false saying “we are working as per the labour laws. No single rule has been flouted so far by the company. He said company is accommodating each and every concern of its employees.
Deputy Labour Commissioner, Publicity and Statistics, Ravi said – if anybody registers formal complaint against Poorvika Mobiles, a punitive action will be initiated. He said according to Samachara’s inputs, Poorvika is flouting the law. “No employee shall be allowed to work for more than 9 hours a day and Casual Leaves and week off are mandatory to employees.”