The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, mostly in garments and leather goods space, in Manesar Industrial Model Township have been battling a shortage of workforce, with several of their employees from the religious minority having returned to homes amid fear and uncertainty in the wake of the communal clashes in South Haryana last week.
“Almost half of my 60-odd employees belonged to religious minorities and have left since the clashes broke out. There was a sense of fear, and in some cases the landlords, fearing a backlash, asked them to vacate the premises,” said Manmohan Gaind, Chief Executive Officer, M. M. Creations, which makes couture clothing and home furnishings.
Mr. Gaind said the manufacturing units engaged in embroidery work had a large percentage of these workers and bore the brunt of it. He said the deliveries were impacted.
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Angad, Tangerine Skies, said almost one-third of his workforce was religious minority workers and 35-40% of them had left hampering the functioning of the unit. “It started two days after the communal clashes. They have left temporarily, but if they don’t return for another week or ten days we will be forced to hire new people or enforce overtime to meet the targets,” said Mr. Angad.
Manesar Industries Welfare Association (MIWA) general secretary, Vikas Gupta, said some units had labour issues, but there were no direct threats to workers. “It was more a sense of fear. We also took up the matter with the police and the local administration. Almost 20% of my workforce too is people from the religious minority and two-three of them stay with their families left. The employers and the landlords must support the workers in these times to give them confidence,” said Mr. Gupta, who owns Three Sixty, a retail leather-style brand. MIWA represents 500-odd MSMEs in various sectors, including auto, pharma, garments and leather goods.
Station House Officer, IMT Manesar Police Station Inspector Devender Mann said the landlords in the five villages under the jurisdiction of the police station were told not to get their premises vacated from their tenants, meetings were held with the peace committees, the police patrolling was intensified and announcements were made in villages to approach the police in case of any trouble.
Udyog Vihar Industrial Association president Animesh Saxena said workers mostly staying in and around Khandsa and Manesar had left, but the units in the Udyog Vihar industrial area did not face any such issue. “Most of the workers in the Udyog Vihar industrial area stay in villages in Delhi bordering Haryana, so there was no exodus as such. But there was a sense of concern and the industry owners addressed it by speaking to the staff,” said Mr. Saxena.