Textile mills' body outlines initiatives to tide over attrition issues

L.N. Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on March 12, 2018

Widening skill gap and high attrition rates is probably compelling the textile industry to find ways and means to address these issues to sustain in business. Voicing concern about the 50 -60 per cent attrition in the mill sector, industry sources state that the turning point was the Indian job guarantee scheme – Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which resulted not just in spiralling increase in manpower cost but availability of labour itself.

This coupled with the freebies that the Government decided to give away (if voted to power) to the downtrodden killed the manufacturing sector, assert mill sources. Three years ago, the Madras High Court held that the State Government had power to fix minimum rates of wages even for apprentices in textile mills. Sources say that fixation of minimum wages for apprentice category is peculiar to Tamil Nadu mills alone. This seems to have pushed up the labour cost further.

According to an industry source, a raw hand (inexperienced worker) gets around Rs 250 a day at present and even at this rate, mills were finding it difficult to get people to work in factories. The average shortage of labour in a reasonably good mill is not less than 8-10 per cent at present, say SIMA sources.

According to the apex body of textile mills – The Southern India Mills Association (SIMA), the mill sector should immediately address this issue of high attrition and widening skill gap to stay in business. The way to tide over the issue seems to be evolving a healthy retention plan. SIMA, according to its Secretary General, Dr K. Selvaraju, has in the last one year worked on such issues and developed best practices/guidelines for adoption by the mill sector.

‘We have tested it in select mills and the outcome has been positive,' he told Business Line.


He further said that SIMA has set for itself a target to train one lakh workers, predominantly in the spinning sector, over the next five years. The manpower requirement is estimated at 6-7 lakh workers,' he said referring to the requirement of the spinning mills located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Though opportunities are immense in this sector, textile technology programmes are least preferred today. ‘We are planning to concentrate on internship training by offering the final year students of textile technology a part-time post-graduate programme/ diploma in textile management. The process has been initiated; once groomed the students would become employable,' he added.

The SIMA Secretary General also said that there was no formal Industrial Training Institute (ITI) for textiles. ‘SIMA and PSG have jointly set up an ITI in Coimbatore. We plan to offer a two-year certification programme for fitters in spinning mills and in textile mechatronics. We will start offering the programme in the coming year. This is part of SIMA Platinum Jubilee project,' he added.

Establishment of an international skill development centre is in the pipeline and SIMA has, towards setting up of this centre purchased 1.5 acres near the L&T bye-pass on Tiruchi Road.


Published on December 15, 2011

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