Premlatha is 34 years old. She has worked at the tailoring units since 2003, before which she was a housewife. She began her career at the tailoring units as a tailor, and then in 2006 was promoted to the position of Mahathmagandhi Society Clerk. [Mahathmagandhi is one of the Tailoring Societies who work in the units, the societies are self-governing, democratically organised groups - like workers' co-operatives. Each society has a clerk who is responsible for the administrative work of the society and quality control.] She lives in KVKuppam with her 75 year old father and her two sons, Gokul who’s 12 and Parthasarathy who’s 8. Her husband died several years ago. Like many of the workers at the tailoring units, she cycles in to work each day.
Chitra is 31 years old; she married her husband Ganesh in 1998. They have a son Saivishnu who’s 10, and a daughter, Bravinsha who’s 8. She joined the tailoring societies as a tailor in 2003, was promoted to clerk in 2005 and since 2008 has been both the clerk and the supervisor for Kamachiyamman Pettai Society. Before working at the tailoring units she was a housewife. Like Premlatha, she is the sole bread-winner in her household: her husband previously worked as a market trader but his business failed a few years ago and he has been unable to find other employment since then.
The K.V.Kuppam Tailoring Units have 2 key employment policies:
1, Members should not only show the capacity to learn the necessary skills for job, they must also be from economically disadvantaged families.
2, Only one member of each family is allowed to work at the units.
These two policies ensure that the opportunity to have a stable, well-remunerated job within the K.V.Kuppam area, reaches those most in need of work, but also that the work is spread to as many households in the area as possible. Like many of the members of the tailoring societies, both Chitra and Premlatha are the sole wage-earners in their families - they support their families with the wages they earn at the tailoring units.