Unions seek abolition of ‘Sumangali’ scheme in textile mills

Trade union members have sought better facilities and implementation of the statutory norms for workers in the textile mills in the State.

Principal Secretary – Labour and Employment, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mohan Pyare, held a discussion here on Friday with textile mill and trade union representatives on the ‘Sumangali’ scheme adopted by the mills for employment of workers.

According to K. G. Jagannathan, secretary of the Coimbatore District Mill Workers’ Union, nearly 98 per cent of workers in the textile mills in the State were non-permanent and most of them were women. The mills had different schemes such as ‘Sumangali’, apprentice workers, etc. They work for more than eight hours a day and are paid Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 after three years. If a worker quits before three years, the bulk amount is not paid in many cases. The mandatory provisions such as providing crèche, payment of provident fund, etc are not adopted by the mills. “We highlighted these to the secretary,” he said.

The secretary suggested measures such as crediting the salary directly in the bank account of the workers regularly, etc. But, the unions insisted that the system of employing non-permanent workers under different schemes should be abolished, Mr. Jagannathan said.

K. Thirunavukarasu, president of the South India Spinners’ Association, said the mills explained to the secretary and to the other officials at the meeting that most of the units here were unable to operate three shifts now because of the power cut.

Nearly 40 mills had closed down during the last two years because of the power problem. Further, all the mills faced labour shortage. Hence, most of them had the workers for more than three years.

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