Construction Labourers: From Rice Fields to the Concrete Jungle
This study of the life of construction labourers aims to investigate whether the way of life of construction labourers has changed from living in a rural home to a construction site and how. The study is made up of qualitative interviews. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 construction workers on a section of a construction site on the Phetchburi Information Technology Campus, Silapakorn University. The study found that the educational background of construction labourers was either primary school level or no formal education. Agriculture was the income for most of the workers families. The process to construction labour jobs was from agriculture at first and then to the construction industry. It was found that there were 2 reasons to be in the construction industry. The first was economic status and the second was social status. Either family relatives or foremen were the advisors who to persuaded the workers to join a construction group. Construction labourers were mostly found working in a group, for instance a group of families or a group of friends. The process of adaptation for construction labourers began with basic labouring jobs such as carrying materials. Some started as handymen and upgraded to skilled foremen in time. Income was the major reason for most workers to keep on working in the construction industry. The income varied according to type or detail of jobs undertaken as well as the period of working and experience gained since joining. Unskilled construction labourers got lower income than skilled construction labourers.In terms of the society of construction labourers, there were 3 categories, these are as follows: 1) Relationships with family members and other relatives. 2) Relationships among the same work colleagues, e.g. electrical or roofing were found to be based on the village of origin.3) Relationship with people in different categories, i.e. other building contractors, head or chief foremen, in terms of issuing directions and instructions.
Keywords: Construction Labourers, Concrete Jungle, Construction Industry
Lecturer, General Business Management, Faculty of Management Science Silpakorn University