Contrary to the commonly accepted charge that it is militant labour that hinders industrial growth in the state, not a single factory was closed in Kanjikode due to labour unrest in the last decade.
In fact, when units shut shop, as in any other industry parks, the reasons too are similar to what prevails elsewhere in the country: recession, lack of working capital, mismanagement and mounting debt.
“The hangover of the impression that Kerala was unfriendly to industries which still exists was based on past statistical data but there has been a sea change. The government’s pro-active approach to curbing militancy is evident from the ban on nokku kooli.”
“If any of the labourers are found guilty of this practice, their registration cards would be cancelled. Our message to the investors is clear,” said Labour secretary Anil X.
With the labour force getting paid as in any other part of the country, the union leaders too have gone in for a positive outlook. The results are showing - many companies have come of age in the Kanjikode industrial area.
Madras Spinners located on 24 acres was closed owing to financial crises and lack of working capital. There were around 400 employees, mostly members of CITU, INTUC and BMS. Most of them have taken the compensation package offered by the management.
Now only 146 workers belonging to the AITUC remain.
“We accepted the compensation offered by Madras Spinners since there was nomeaning in waiting indefinitely,” said district secretary of the CITU Prabhakaran.
There were no major industrial labour disputes pending in Kanjikode at the apex level, except for a long-term wage settlement with regard to Marico Ltd, said T T Antony.
Meanwhile, a number of units that have been part of the Kanjikode industrial area are consolidating their base there.“We have been in the business of manufacturing latex threads for the past 18 years and we have posted a turnover of `100 crore. We are expecting 25 per cent growth this fiscal,” Krishnakumar, president of the Palakkad Management Association, and the managing director of Rubfila International, said.
Among those companies that are faring well are Patspin India Limited with a turnover of `125 crore, and Augustine Textile Colours Private Limited, which took over Teaktex seven years ago.