Tamil Nadu government must oppose the recently amended Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central Rules of 2018, which enables all industries to hire workers on a contractual basis for a fixed term, said S. Selva Gomathi, managing trustee, Justice Shivaraj V. Patil Foundation, here on Tuesday.
Speaking at an awareness campaign launched for securing the rights of garment factory workers, particularly women, she said that the new amendment would prove detrimental to the workers as they will lose job security.
Until the recent amendments, engaging employees on a fixed-term basis was allowed only in the apparel manufacturing sector. “Though many companies in other sectors were already following this practice even with the old rules, the amendment will encourage them to hire primarily on a temporary basis,” she said.
Urging the State government to reject the amended rules, she said that the State must instead form its own rules to ensure job security of workers in all sectors.
P. Muthu Raja, president, Textile Workers Union, appealed to the gathered workers to not give up their fighting spirit and be part of the unions to demand their rightful wages and decent working conditions.
“There is a perception among some people that many decades-old garment factories have shut down and the industry is not doing well. On the contrary, the truth is that more units have come up and the exploitation of labour has only increased,” he said.
He said that he knew a few garment units in Madurai that have not given their workers holiday this year not only on Tuesday for Labour Day, but even for the festival of Lord Kallazhagar’s entry into Vaigai on Monday, when the whole of Madurai comes to a standstill.
B. Thirumalai, writer and journalist, pointed out how loss of jobs in the farming sector, which used to be a major source of employment for women, has forced them to take up jobs in places like garment factories that exploit them in many ways.
Alleging that employment opportunities were seeing a negative growth in the country, he also blamed the government for diluting the labour laws and consequently worsening the situation of workers in all sectors.