Migrant workers turn to alcohol in Tiruppur, garment exports hit

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Migrant workers in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district are turning to alcohol, leading to absenteeism from work in textile units which in turn is causing garment production loss.

Simran Ray, wife of migrant labourer Arjun Das from Uttar Pradesh told IANS: “My husband is only 28 years of age and we have two children. He was earning around Rs 600 per day and we were provided a family room and gas connection and water supply by the textile company owner. However, of late, my husband turned alcoholic and life has become miserable. He is not attending factory regularly and is now on the verge of losing his job.”

Tiruppur Exporters and Manufacturers Association President Muthurathinam told IANS: “The workers from northern and eastern states are hardworking and have a finesse in their profession. They were not having any bad habits like local people and were always on time for duty, but of late, they have slowly but surely become alcohol addicts.”

Migrant workers working as tailors earn around Rs 4,500 a week and most of them being single, slowly turn to alcohol on their holidays and gradually become alcohol addicts, he added.

Powerloom Unit owners association president R. Velusamy told IANS: “Workers from North are preferred as they don’t bargain for wages. A large number of migrant workers are employed in powerloom units in Palladam, Mangalam, and Thekkallur.”

Both Muthurathinam and Velusamy said that the absenteeism of migrant workers and their lack of interest has led to a lull in the production at these units. This has affected the export of materials from Tiruppur which is the hosiery capital of of the country.

Muthurathinam said: “The garment export industry was limping back to normalcy after Covid -19 pandemic but this lack of enthusiasm among our majority labourers, who have migrated here, has affected us.”

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