In July-August 2021, the FWN carried out a large survey among workers collecting Mica, this shiny silicate mineral used as a thermal or electrical insulator by many sectors like automobile. The aim of the study was to better identify working conditions of workers in this activity by a series of surveys on wages and living conditions in India. In particular the aim of the study was to collect some empirical evidence to better identify:
– The wages and working conditions of workers involved in both picking and processing MICA activities;
– Current practices and mechanisms for paying workers and artisanal mica collectors in and also workers in processing units;
– The eventual existing living wage gap between workers’ income and living wage thresholds;
– The root causes behind the payment of low wages or prices;
– Barriers and constraints to paying a Living Wage notably through a description of the payment and trading activities of MICA so that we could better identify the mechanisms behind the redistribution of value added along Mica supply chain.

Results on Mica pickers/collectors

The field work with interviews of workers both in picking and processing activities was carried out in July 2021 in two main regions of Mica activities: Bihar and Jharkhand, with interviews of workers in their home villages. A similar field work will be carried out in Autumn among Mica workers in another major Mica country, Madagascar.

The report will be soon placed online.