Gujarat govt initiates talks to end workers deadlock

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Keeping an eye on the forthcoming elections in the state, Gujarat government has decided to open talks to end the deadlock with striking workers across Ahmedabad mills. These mills employ a huge number of workers, who are currently agitating for higher wages. The government has decided to understand the root cause and discuss the matter with Arvind, the first mill affected by the strike on June 4. About 8000 workers from four mills have joined the strike so far and efforts are on to bring in more support from other mills in the area.

While elections are around the corner and the state is known to be a strike-free one so far, the government is in a hurry to solve the matter. It has asked for a detailed report on the wage structure from Arvind to put an end to the increasing uncertainty over the issue. Textile is one of least paid sectors in the state known for its flourishing heavy engineering, pharmaceuticals and auto components industry. There has been no wage reform in the state and the workers are paid the same salaries for years. Around 4,000 workers of Arvind boycotted work early this month and were soon joined by an equal number of workers from across the industry. Those hit so far include Arvind, Ashima and Asarwa Mills. Soma Textiles is the only member of the Ahmedabad Textile Mills’ Association (ATMA) that has so far remained untouched by the protests.

With the situation going out of control and affecting production as well as peace in the area, Gujarat INTUC is left with no option but to ask the Arvind management to agree to workers’ demands. On the other hand, ATMA has maintained that while mills are willing to hike wages, workers’ productivity too has to be taken into consideration since most of the mills now have automated machines compared to the earlier times.

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