C. Palanisamy, president of the job working power loom unit weavers association in Coimbatore and Tiruppur told IANS, "There are more than 2 lakh power loom workers directly employed and 3 lakh indirectly in Somanur and Palladam and there has been no wage revision since 2014. The condition of the workers is pathetic and hence we decided for an indefinite strike to open the eyes of the authorities and the weavers who provide job to these power loom units."
He said that during a tripartite meeting between master weavers, job workers, and the labour department of Tamil Nadu, a wage revision was agreed upon in November 2021. However, there was no progress and the revision of wages was not implemented leaving the job workers in dire straits.
In Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts of Tamil Nadu, more than 95 per cent of power looms are operated by job workers or rather piece workers.
Master weavers supply cotton yarn to the job workers and pay them conversion charges of weaving fabric from these yarns. There was a wage revision expected for the past several years and even after waiting for several months since the tripartite talks of November 2021, the workers had to resort to an indefinite strike.
The tripartite talks held between master weavers, power loom job workers, and representatives of the labour department held in November 2021 had agreed upon a 20 to 25 per cent hike in wages and it was to be implemented and executed in December 2021.
M. Manoharan, a power loom worker in Tiruppur told IANS, "We are treated badly, we weave the cotton yarn into beautiful material or rather convert the cotton yarn to the beautiful cloth materials, but we are never given any recognition and we don't want that. However, we need a hike in our wages that was stagnant since 2014, and even after the tripartite talks deciding that wages would be hiked by 20 to 25 per cent, nothing happened and we had to resort to this strike. Hope the authorities will open their eyes at least now."