Fight for right: The curious case of Kerala's fiery union activists

Militant trade union activities, which had forced many industrial units to close down in Kerala in the past, have reared their ugly head once again when Muthoot Finance’s branches were not allowed to

Published: 09th September 2019 05:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2019 05:08 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

Militant trade union activities, which had forced many industrial units to close down in Kerala in the past, have reared their ugly head once again when Muthoot Finance’s branches were not allowed to open in recent days. The company has announced it will shut over 300 branches in the state in a phased manner. What should be done to ensure Kerala has a investment-friendly climate? Why is the government not taking proactive steps to see the conflict between businesses and unions is minimised?

Best debater

End conflicts between businesses, unions

Venu G S, Kollam
Many of the agitation and protests staged by trade unions in Kerala have resulted in unwarranted conflicts at workplaces and led to the closure of many industrial units. Faced with a massive unemployment problem, Kerala cannot afford to lose industries and businesses. Trade union hooliganism and militancy have stunted the labour sector, hindered entrepreneurship and turned the state into an industrial graveyard. Here, trade unions serve as vote and money banks for political parties. Labour militancy constitutes a serious impediment to the state’s attempts to project it as investment friendly. Laws must be enacted to restrict undue interference of trade unions in labour disputes. The government must  create a congenial atmosphere for investments in the state and take measures to end conflicts between businesses and unions.   

A Lakshminarayan
Trade union activists are bent upon looting the businessmen under one pretext or the other. Unless the government takes the initiative to curb the goondaism of these TU activists, nothing will help in attracting more businesses to the state. In fact, the government should be happy if no businessman shuts down his business in the state because of trade union problems.

Trade unions destroyed industries in state
C P Balachandran, T’Puram  

I remember R K Laxman’s cartoon, where the militant trade union is depicted as a big fat woman carrying her weak and emaciated husband on her shoulders. Sitting on top, the husband says, “Make no mistake, I am the boss but she is the management.” This has been the state of industries in Kerala always, despite the sermons otherwise from the powers that be.  It is good that like a whiff of fresh air, Muthoot Finance has decided to put its foot down.

The CITU and other such organisations have destroyed everything in the state. The once-thriving cashew Industry in Kollam has been lost to other states. Likewise, the coir and plywood Industries in Alappuzha and Kannur, respectively, are in the doldrums, all because of the militant trade unions, backed by leftist politicians.

Settle issue amicably N K Vijayan, Kizhakkambalam
The ongoing tussle between the Muthoot Finance management and the CITU needs to be studied and discussed disinterestedly. Trade unions are invariably put in the dock for the shutdown of businesses while the managements appear to be quite magnanimous. It is unfair to put the entire blame on the trade unions for anything and everything.

Hundreds of employees put in hard work in such private finance establishments for a meagre amount. Threatening to shut down branches is just a ploy to browbeat the belligerent employees. The standoff between the warring parties should be settled through talks under the Labour Minister. The genuine grievances should be addressed while militant trade unionism should be put down.

Rein in militant trade union activities Sunil 
The issues related to militant trade unionism is not new in Kerala. It’s been on since ages and till now no governments had initiated measures to curtail this menace. It is a known fact that business entrepreneurs or corporates are reluctant to invest here or start new ventures as the state is well known for trade union militancy.

Unless and until these trade unions are controlled and restrained, things will never change. The new generation of this state should rise to the occasion and ensure that the political parties supporting militant trade unions must not come to power. It is time to get rid of such rats and brats from the state if we want to see development happening. 

Action not justifiable Manoj K R, Kasaragod
Though Kerala is being projected as an investor-friendly state, the current scenario doesn’t give a positive hint to new as well as existing employers. As per reports, the agitation of Muthoot employees started two years ago as an internal matter. Later, the CITU supported the strike with their common nature of trade unionism, stopping even employees who are willing to work, which is a violation of human rights. The trade union members’ approach is not justifiable. The government should take up this issue with utmost seriousness or else, our state will be branded as an ‘investor-enemy’ land. 

Samuel Kochuvilayil, Mylapra  
Militant trade unionism is a curse to the nation. In Bengal, where the Left ruled for 30 years, militant trade unionism has ceased the job opportunities and many lakhs of Bengali youths are now working as labourers in other states. The government should take steps to curb aggressive trade unionism.

CITU playing spoilsport K V Raghuram, Wayanad
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is canvassing investments to Kerala, the CITU is deliberately playing spoilsport by paving the way for the closure of existing business establishments in the state. Muthoot Finance which is on the verge of closing its 300 branches in Kerala owing to diabolic trade unionism played out by the CITU-affiliated Non-Banking & Private Finance Employees Association is a classic example of this mindless move. No wonder the Left-oriented trade union in the country is stifling development and progress.

Denial of job opportunities O B  Nair,  Poonithura 
The ethnic structure of Kerala is different from the rest of India. Aggressive trade unionism is such a factor distinctly noticeable. The latest among the companies that bear the brunt of this trade unionism is Muthoot Finance, which is forced to shut down many of its branches due to CITU protest, which is  not only striking but also disallowing willing staff to enter offices.

If the protesters have the right to strike, the willing employees also have the right to work. It is the duty of the government to provide protection to these workers. But the ruling CPM is looking the other way by helping the CITU, without realising the harm they are doing to the next generation – denial of employment opportunities.

Aisha Asokan, Karakkad
The unparalleled misdemeanour from the part of trade unions is truly disturbing. This should not be tolerated and permitted by the government. A diplomatic stand from the part of those in power is the need of the hour to resolve such issues.

Militant labour is chiefly to blame for proving a deterrent to would-be investors keen on setting up shop in Kerala, according to the majority of debaters. And the government indeed has to curb aggressive brand of trade unionism which undermines official efforts to woo investors to the state. Some of the debaters, though, underscored the unions’ role in  upholding the rights of workers. We at ‘Express’ believe the government, while protecting the interests of both investors and employees, should ensure a compatible atmosphere for entrepreneurs in Kerala.

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