In R M Lala’s words Jamsetji Tata “launched his real career as a textile magnate” at the age of thirty five when he established Empress Mills in 1874. By then, he had visited
In 1883 Brooksby, while on home leave, came across ring spindles invented in
Innovations at Empress Mill weren’t restricted to technology adoption. In fact, lack of skilled and semi-skilled labor was perhaps a bigger challenge. Workers would be absent for sixty days a year due to festivals and for several days during harvest times. Absenteeism was 10 to 20 percent a day. Jamsetji & team set about to make workers’ life easier. A Provident Fund Scheme was introduced in 1886 and pension fund was introduced in 1887. Accident compensation scheme was introduced in 1895. Most of these came before Factory Act of England making certain measures compulsory. Empress held an annual prize day were workers turned up in colorful holiday attire for performance recognition. As many as 1000 workers were called to the platform to collect prizes of gold and silver watches and chains, armlets, medals and bundles of cloth.
In Jamsetji’s words at the opening of the extension of Empress Mills in 1895, “We do not claim to be more unselfish, more generous, or more philanthropic than other people. But, we think, we started on sound and straightforward business principles, considering the interests of our shareholders our own, and the health and welfare of our employees the sure foundation of our prosperity”.
Source: For the love of India: The life and times of Jamsetji Tata, by R. M. Lala.