At Puttenahhali Lake, we had three gardeners - Kumar who'd been with us for over three years, Ramu for a year and a half and Uchappa for a month and a half.
We were periodically increasing their salaries and they were currently receiving Rs 7000/month. Perks included a cycle, flexibility in timing, annual bonus, clothes, medical help, advance for emergencies. We delegated work and, time permitting, supervised them with help from a volunteer who spent an hour or so about 3 or 4 times a week. This meant that they were pretty much on their own and worked as they wished. To get any specific work done, we had to personally supervise and ensure it is done.
After collecting their salary on the 1st of November, all three stopped working! We knew this only when we called one of them on the 3rd to say that we'd got him a new cycle. He said unless we increased their salaries, they were not coming back. We refused to be blackmailed in this fashion and asked them to return the advance, the key and the cycles. The next day one of them came back saying he'd made a mistake. Ramu is a good worker and we took him back. Now another guy is pestering to be reinstated but we have declined since he is slacker. The other guy returned the room key but not yet the money or the cycle.
Maintaining the lake is a labour of love for me and the others at PNLIT and I can tell you with a clear conscience that we have treated our workers with sympathy and understanding. However, we refuse to be a pushover.
Since we pay salaries from the donations you give us, this update is for your information.