Our Bureau

Kochi, June 29

THE Indian Coir Association has called upon the State Government to provide a level playing field for the coir industry in order to survive the competition both from within and outside the country.

Addressing the 49th annual general meeting, Mr Mathew Joseph, Chairman of the Association, pointed out that neighbouring coconut growing States are progressing with the development of coir industry by leaps and bounds as they are assisted by the low-cost production as well as lower cost of the raw materials, yarn and fibre. However, in Kerala, the cost of production and the price of raw materials are very high, he added.

The Chairman was also critical about the labour situation, saying that this had prompted most of entrepreneurs in the coir industry to migrate to neighbouring States. The Coir Board should take steps to assist the industry in Kerala as many of the industrialists still wanted to continue in the State.

Referring to trade unionism in the sector, he said that exporters are following the practice of "passive non-resistance" for decades for the overall benefit of the industry. The demands by trade unions and small-scale manufacturers, whether legal or illegal, followed by strikes and lockouts have become annual features of the coir industry in the State, disrupting the export trade drastically.

An analytical study of the demands that led to the strikes and lockouts is very important. The workers, who were denied wages legally due to them and the employers who denied the wages, have jointly launched the strike and lockout targeting the exporters who are always paying the statutory wages and implementing all labour laws, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 30, 2005)
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