Business

Facing labour shortage, says L&T

‘Confident that 1 lakh workers, now in their home States, will return by June end’

Even as Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is looking to re-start work at its construction sites with the easing of the lockdown, India’s largest engineering and construction firm is facing acute shortage of labour as over one lakh workers — almost half its labour — have gone to their homes in U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa during the lockdown.

The company has restarted most of its factories and about 90% of the 1,000-odd project sites with almost half of the labourers, but execution remains a challenge.

When asked for comments about the migrant labours crisis, S N Subrahmanyan, MD and CEO, L&T, told The Hindu, “We had 2.25 lakh labourers working with us pre-Covid; now we have 1.2 lakh people with us. We need to get back one lakh people to resume operations.”

L&T is also banking on onboarding a large number of labourers coming from the Gulf region who have been laid off due to the significant fall in the oil prices.

“We expect most of the labourers to come back by the end of this month. Our project teams are tapping labourers returning to India from the Middle East due to job losses there,” he said.

When asked about the U.P. government assuring jobs to most migrant workers returning and the possibility of their staying back, Mr. Subrahmanyan said, “All this will happen; it’s a psychological issue more than anything else. Labourers will ultimately come back to organisations that have treated them well, taken care of them with good facilities.”

L&T’s infrastructure division, which accounts for a majority of revenues, is facing challenges due to halt of work in multiple projects across Andhra Pradesh on the State government’s directions to review all projects ordered by the previous government; stoppage of all construction work in the NCR region by the Supreme Court during winter for environmental reasons; lower fund allocation in some States; and, execution challenges in the last few weeks of the year on account of the pandemic, among others.

According to Mr. Subrahmanyan, workers generally return to their home States during Holi or the harvest season and return after that.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:31:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/facing-labour-shortage-says-lt/article31781827.ece

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