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India - Power crisis: industries slash jobs

Be it foundries, engineering units or textile mills, industries here have started reducing workforce, primarily owing to power crisis.

Though the market is said to be strong, power shortage is making the foundries, numbering about 600, cut down production drastically and also jobs.

Chairman of the Coimbatore chapter of the Institute of Indian Foundrymen Aditya Balasundaram says labour loss in the foundries in the recent days is about 25 per cent and it is only due to the power problem.

It is difficult for the foundries to use generators as it is a continuous processing industry. Mr. Balasundaram explains that many of the medium and large-scale foundries now do not operate for 10 to 12 days a month and during these days the workers are on loss of pay.

The job cut has happened even at the executive level and a number of labourers who were here from other States have returned home.

“I expect a lot of small players to shut down if the situation continues,” he says.

On the textile front, about 10 per cent of the mills have wound up operations in the last few months.

Most of the mills have cut down on shifts and workers are given leave without salary, says South India Small Spinners’ Association president G. Soundararajan. The mills were hit by market conditions initially. Now, though the market has stabilised, the main problem is power.

The situation may get worse in a couple of months. Now there is no retrenchment. However, if a worker used to get work for five days a week earlier, now the unit is able to provide the same only for three days.

Coimbatore District Mill Workers’ Union (AITUC) general secretary M. Arumugam says many of the textile mills have reduced one shift and operate just two shifts now. He estimates that 30,000 to 40,000 workers in the mills have lost jobs during the last one year.

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