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Labor shortage threatens workflow in Tamil Nadu textile clusters


Having suffered from a steep drop in orders over the past two years, textile clusters in Tamil Nadu are now grappling with a new challenge; that of labor shortage. 

With orders reviving, factories are gradually ramping up production and consequently require more workers.

K. Selvaraju, Secretary General, Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA), notes, workers’ wages in Rajasthan have increased by 20 per cent while those in Odisha have increased by 28 per cent. Similar increases have been reported in Maharashtra, leading to many resident workers from these states opting to stay closer to home than work in Tamil Nadu’s textile and garment factories. 

J Thulasidharan, President, Indian Cotton Federation, suggests, to tackle labor shortage, textile mills should focus on automation. Mills should also consider investing in spinning machinery available with extensive automated processes, he opines. 

According to a garment manufacturer in Tiruppur,  the drop in orders has led to numerous micro and small-scale factories going out of business. Workers from these units have either shifted to other jobs or moved away from Tiruppur, creating a significant demand for labor across the garment supply chain.

Textile units in Tamil Nadu should consider offering higher wages and better facilities to attract workers, recommends Selvaraju. Some industries have already begun implementing these measures, he adds. 

Over the next few months, rise in domestic demand is likely to create a need for more workers, predict industry sources. If units do not start addressing the labor shortage soon, it could adversely affect operations, they warn. 



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