THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A section of the traders in the state are gearing up to approach the state government seeking a waiver on the mandatory Onam bonus for their staff owing to financial constraints. Because of the pandemic outbreak, many trade establishments in the containment and critical containment zones are facing a severe financial crisis. Many of them have been paying their staff during the lockdown, but might find it difficult to afford the bonus.
As per labour rules, every trade establishment with more than 10 staff members should give an Onam bonus. There are over 10.25 lakh licensed trade establishments in the state. According to KVVES district general secretary S S Manoj, the capital city is struggling. “The traders here have been out of business for literally over 150 days. Chalai market, one of the major markets in the district, could operate only for 28 days post the pandemic outbreak.
The traders here are in deep crisis,” he said. According to traders, this Onam they don’t expect revenue to peak. “Business has been dry so far, and now that is slowly changing. Even then, footfall is less than 50 per cent of what it used to be. In Thiruvananthapuram, a large section of the consumers are government employees and the salary cut they have been facing is affecting their spending patterns,” Manoj added.
VKC Mohammad Koya, state vice-president of Kerala State Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi also agreed that buying behaviour has changed. “People don’t have the money or a job to buy things. This is the only time of the year when the Keralites buy non-essential goods. People are compromising on those this year due to financial crisis,” said Koya.