A garment manufacturer, which supplies manufacturers such as GAP, H&M, Reebok, and Adidas, has closed a huge factory with the loss of 1200 jobs in India.
Gokaldas Exports has closed down its Euro Clothing Company II Mill in the town of Mandya, near Mysore, in the south-western state of Karnataka.
The organisation, which employs nearly 25000 people in total at more than 20 factories in the country, blamed a reduction of orders on account of this coronavirus pandemic.
Trade union leaders complained the company had not given the affected employees the compulsory one-month notice ahead of the shutdown.
“This violates section 25(m) of the Industrial Disputes Act. This means workers will be paid half salary and factories won’t be operational,” said R. Prathiba, president of Garment Association Trade Workers Union (GATWU).
Prathiba also said the company had eliminated machinery in the factory at the end of last month without consulting workers.
She also disclosed that union officials had fulfilled the direction on the morning of June 6th but hadnot been advised that the mill would be closed down that exact same evening.
“They mentioned the shortage of orders, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, as The reason for removing a few of the machines. What is mysterious is that they have not shut any other apparatus,” explained Prathiba.
She said one possible reason was that the strength of this union in the Mill, adding, “Our union is very powerful at this unit. Therefore, it appears the management decided to pull the plug”
Workers staged a demonstration in the factory for about two hours after Learning of the closed but left after receiving assurances from the neighborhood ‘tehsildar’ (tax officer) and also the police.
Gautam Mody, general secretary of the National Trade Union Initiative, to which Pratibha’s union is connected, said the Organisation’s “illegal action” would be challenged in the courts, if needed.