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Employees request Centre to reopen closed textile units

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Employees of five National Textile Corporation (NTC) mills in the state, including Vijayamohini Mills in Thirumala here, have urged the Centre to restart operations in textile mills, which were shut down in the wake of the Covid-induced lockdown. According to the joint trade union, the employees have been living penniless since the past four months.

The NTC, in a circular, had announced the shutting down of all mills on March 23 along with a 50 per cent cut in wages of workers. This was in contradiction to the circular published by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, which advised employers of public and private establishments to not terminate casual or contractual workers or reduce their wages.

On May 17, when the Centre allowed factories to continue operations following Covid-19 norms, NTC decided against reopening all its 23 units across the country. The south regional chapter of NTC even announced that all employee allowances would be done away with and that workers will only receive 50 per cent of wages from May 17.

However, the workers are yet to receive even this paltry sum. The management even asked workers to sign a petition stating that the latter only required 50% of wages. The delay in payment has caused hunger and poverty among workers, one of whom committed suicide on June 15. He was a permanent worker at a mill in Mahe.As per the staff union, Vijayamohini Mills alone has been paying a GST of Rs 40 lakh. But none of the mills care about their employees,said union members.