With export orders trickling in from the US, Europe and West Asia, apparel and knitwear exporting units in Tirupur and Noida are trying to procure local labourers in the absence of migrant workers who have returned to their native places.

While knitwear units in Tirupur have managed to get labourers from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu to run their operations, apparel units in Noida have g0t about 65,000 workers from Uttar Pradesh. The chief minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath, will distribute offer letters to the first batch of 25,000 workers, who will join the Noida Apparel Export Cluster, on June 18, said Lalit Thukral, president of the cluster.

There are 12 million workers engaged in garment manufacturing across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi-National Capital Region and Punjab, among others. Migrant workers constitute about half the workforce.

“We have reopened our units but we need people immediately to run the show. As of now, UP government has helped us arrange 65,000 workers,” said Thukral. “They were all working in places like Indore, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Surat, Jaipur and Mumbai. They had returned to UP to be with their families in the time of pandemic. But now they need work. In the first batch 25,000 workers will be joining. We will give them free ration for a month.”

There are 3,000 garment manufacturing units in the Noida cluster, which generates exports of Rs 20,000 crore annually and also sells garments worth Rs 5,000 crore in the domestic market, he said.

Units in Tirupur, the biggest knitwear cluster in the country, have procured labourers from southern districts of Tamil Nadu to run their operations for the time being. “The units are now running at 50% capacity. Therefore, workers who are coming from the districts of Tamil Nadu are enough to run the show,” said Raja M. Shanmugam, president, Tirupur Exporters Association. “But when large orders from the global markets start pouring in, we will require more people and the need for migrant workers will go up.”

Nearly 40% of the workforce in Tirupur was migrant workers. “Of them 10% have stayed back in our hostels. The rest have left,” said Shanmugam.

Tirupur exporters will need more manpower from September onwards when garments for the winter season will have to be shipped to the US and Europe.

In a garment factory, 70% people are engaged in stitching, 20% in ironing and pressing, 5-7% in cutting and the rest in packing, said Rahul Mehta, chief mentor of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) “The entire workforce that does the ironing and pressing comes from UP,” he said.

Mehta said there has been no improvement in labour supply so far for the garment units that cater to the domestic market. “Demand for garments in high street outlets is 30-35% of that last year. Footfalls is less in malls. Interestingly, footfall at weekends is less than on weekdays,” he said.

Published On : 18-06-2020

Source : India Times

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