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Saturday, May 11, 2002

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Industry & Economy - Knitwear & Hosiery

Tirupur exporters plan China tour for workers

G. Gurumurthy


THE Tirupur-based knitwear producers are planning to take their labour leaders to China to educate the workers on labour output. The Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) has come forward to sponsor a group of knitwear workers union representatives to visit China to know the status of the labour and labour practices in that country's textile/garment industry.

According to Mr A. Sakthivel, President of the association and a member of a delegation from the Apparel Export Promotion Council that recently visited two key industrial cities of China — Shanghai and Gonzo the high individual worker productivity in China has made their cost of production lower.

The reduction in wastage in garment units in China has also been a positive element on the productivity. As against five to seven per cent wastage reported there, the Indian garment sector, particularly the knitwear sector, has 12-15 per cent wastage , says Mr Sakthivel.

While the wages in China garment units are linked to productivity which is three times higher compared to India's labour output, any shortfall in production fixed for the day is made good by the workers the same day through extra hours of work at no extra remuneration.

The annual permissible leave for the workers is restricted to 15 days. Though the employment in a garment unit is through a contract between the management and the labour, no labour laws come in the way of achieving the set production targets and the unit is vested with the powers to terminate inefficient labour.

The TEA officials say that the labour reforms for domestic garment units should assume importance in the wake of the changing global textiles and clothing market where competition from China would become a real challenge.

The purpose of highlighting Chinese labour standards was not intended to deride the Indian labour, more so the workers engaged in Tirupur units, but only to highlight the need to increase the labour productivity to match that of the global players.

The association has written to the local workers unions and the Tamil Nadu Government on its intention to sponsor a tour of workers' representatives to China.

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