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Workers in distress as spinning mills in Western TN closed down due to rising cotton prices

- May 26, 2022

Chennai, May 26 (BPNS)

The workers of spinning mills in Western Tamil Nadu are in distress and facing difficulties as the mills in these areas are closed down for the past several days in protest to the rising cotton prices.

The power looms and spinning mills are on strike indefinitely due to the rising cotton prices even after waiving of import duty for cotton by 11%. Textile units in Erode, Tirupur and Karur have downed their shutters in protest of the rising prices of cotton yarn.

The workers in power looms are on duty for a stretch of ten hours a day but are paid only between Rs 500 to 600 per day. Technicians and fitters who work on the machines are paid anywhere between Rs 700 to Rs 750 and in most cases, these skilled workers take advances from the loom companies making them in a sort of bondage.

K. Sunil Kumar who is working as a technician in a power loom said, “The units are closed since the past week and I used to get wages of around 5100 rupees per week but with the closing down of the looms, I will be forced to take an advance from the company leading to me in a sort of bond to the company.”

Several workers who are employed in the textile units of Western Tamil Nadu are planning to go back to their hometowns as they are in dire straits following the shutting down of the units for more than one week.

Karuppanan, (48) a worker in a textile unit at Erode while speaking to BPNS said, “ My financial situation is precarious after one week closure of the textile factory where I am working. I was slowly coming up financially after the pandemic and the lockdown dealt a heavy blow to my financial situation. This has affected me and if the issue is not sorted out in a couple of days’ time, I am definitely going back to my village and doing farm jobs to support my family.”

However, some spinning mills have given work to the labourers for maintaining the mills and other works to keep them engaged and are being paid the usual wages.

Vijayarajan, 32 a worker with a spinning mill in Karur while speaking to BPNS said, “ The owner of the mill where I work has asked all the workers to conduct maintenance work of the factory including painting of premises and minor other works and we are being paid according to our weekly wages. We are comfortable but we want the strike to end immediately and the mills function normally so that we are back to our routine work.”

In support of the striking power loom and spinning mills, Surgical Dressing manufacturing industry of Virudhunagar has commenced a strike from May 25 till May 31.

The president of the Surgical Dressing Manufacturing association of Virudhunagar, N. Senthilraj while speaking to BPNS said, “ 5000 power looms across the district are closed down in the district and jobs of 10,000 workers will be affected. Other than that the strike will affect the medical industry and the state and central governments must regulate the price hike.”