Factories are taking small steps as they wait for demand to pick up
JAIPUR: Let alone the salary of April, some employees who worked in Sitapura industrial area have not been paid for the 10 days in March when the lockdown started.
While most of the workers have gone back to their states in Bihar, UP and Madhya Pradesh, those who could not arrange a passage are waiting for companies to restart operations so that they can get employment.
“The abrupt lockdown was a chaos and paying workers within a day’s time was never easy. And the difficulty was more so for the contract workers, who are not on the payroll. May be some have been deprived of their salary on that day. But subsequently, employers have paid when they were allowed passes to open their offices in April,” said a garment factory owner.
He said in many instances companies paid the contract workers through the hiring agents who may not have passed on the salaries, depriving workers the salaries for the lockdown period. Those who could not make it to their home states are waiting for the factories to restart their business but there is hardly any demand.
“Big sourcing companies like Reliance and Big Bazaar have cancelled orders and unless the malls, shopping joints, and even standalone outlets open, demand won’t be there for factories to restart,” said Hero Ravjani, a garment manufacturer.
“Even if demand starts slowly, these big companies will place new orders. It is very likely that they will quote prices very low because there will be more suppliers and less buyers,” said Ravjani.
While the garment industry is yet to kick off operations, the gems and jewellery industry has taken small steps in starting its manufacturing activities.
“Out of 125 units, around 85 have started manufacturing although on low base of 25% workers. The bigger challenge is labour. We want the government to help us train the Rajasthan migrant labourers who have returned to the state and already written to the state chief minister and labour secretary,” said Gaurav Jain, president of Sitapura Gems and Jewellery Industries Association.
The gems and jewellery sector is heavily dependent on workers from West Bengal but the industry, which already has a training facility, wants to create a talent pool of Rajasthani workers in skills required for gem and jewellery making.