Tech company plans to put in automatic carwash that may put them out of work
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/04/2012 -- Beena George, a project manager for a multinational company, there just isn’t enough time in the day to wash one’s own car. That is why the women of ‘car wash chechis’ are a “welcome relief”, according to George.
Kumari and Lathakumari are near the car park of Technopark’s Nila building, and are finishing up a late breakfast. The women are dressed in a sari covered with a yellow jacket. The women wield buckets of water and sponges with car shampoos. Theses are tool they use to make their living cleaning the cars of those who seem to not have the time to do so. The women remove the grime, mud, and general spatter on the cars. In minutes they are able to make a dirtied car look pristine.
Kumari and Lathakumari are among 30 women from the Kazhakuttom who make a living washing cars for the employees of Technopark, the local tech industry company. The women work under a car washing agency umbrella company.
Kumari says, “Most of our customers tell us that they often don’t get the time to wash their cars. So, while they are at work, they entrust their cars with us and we ensure that by the time they leave work to return home, their cars are clean inside and out.”
Once finished with the exterior, Kumari moves to dusting the interior of the cars. Each car session costs Rs. 150, “We also have a monthly package for permanent customers – numbering around a 1,000 – for who we charge Rs. 450 for cleaning each car, three times a week (Rs. 500 for the first month),” adds Latha. “The work is really not too taxing and we ourselves are responsible for signing on new customers. So that means we get a decent cut for every car that we wash, in addition to our regular monthly salaries. The cut is an added impetus for us to sign on as many customers as possible,” she explains.
The Technopark lots are divided by Zones A and B so each can be designated a supervisor. The majority of women are in their late 40s and early 50s, and work full-time hours. All come from economically disadvantaged families.
“Each of us washes around 25 to 30 cars a day,” says Kumari, who hails from Kazhakuttom. She’s been with the agency for seven years now.
Unfortunately for the women, Technopark is planning an automatic washing service. This possible ruinous future does not seem to illicit concern in the women. “We charge economically for our service and over the years we have proven ourselves to be trustworthy. We believe that our goodwill with our customers will tide us over,” says Kumari, optimistically. Their drive for hard work continues.
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