Shimla: The global meltdown finally seems to be showing an effect on industries in Himachal Pradesh as well with reports pouring in from different parts of the state about either workers being laid off or companies struggling to maintain their workforce due to fall in demand and tight capital situation. Ironically, companies that have set base in Himachal over the years had been complaining about non-availability of workers, and the latest development may further add to the problem. Added to this, the state government’s policy of ‘compulsory 70% Himachali presence’ has, of course, been a thorn for companies, and even more now when they are said to be rationalizing their operations to meet the new challenges. In fact, a tug of war appears to be underway between industries and the labour department with the latter not letting units shed their work force.
A Gagrate-based company is said to have laid off at least 20 workers, all Himachalis, without giving them any notice, which has now led to unrest in the whole industrial belt. Though an industrial dispute is said to the reason behind the move, the undercurrents of strain in the overall industrial environment cannot be ruled out.
On the other hand, at least three prominent industries are said to have filed applications to the state labour commissioner for closing their units and thus lay off their work force. The labour department, however, maintained that no such application has been cleared.
While Purewal Industries had applied for closure of its unit employing 491 workers, Su Kam, a prominent invertor brand, had asked for removing 200 workers and Gabrial Industries had applied for retrenching 150 workers.
A prominent labour union leader in the Baddi industrial belt claimed that services of at least 800 non-permanent workers have been terminated so far. Most of the steel, textile and export-oriented units have either slowed down production, or in certain cases have also temporarily shut down work. Sources claimed that if the situation does not improve soon it may severely affect industries in the state.