Migrant workers constitute half of the estimated 600,000 workers at apparel units in this textile city in Tamil Nadu and about 60,000 of them have already left.
“There has been a 20% exodus of migrant workers from Tiruppur garment manufacturing units. That is a matter of concern,” said K M Subramanian, president of Tiruppur Exporters Association (TEA).
To stop this exodus, the association is looking to improve the living conditions of migrant workers in the city. It has created a forum that will consider various options including housing societies, better medical facilities, wage hikes and timely payment of wages for the migrant labourers, Subramanian said.
Raja Shanmugam, owner of knitwear company Warsaw International and past president of TEA, said ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Ayodhya will attract Rs 60,000 crore investments in the next two years, there’s a feeling among migrant workers that it is best to return to their homeland so that they can live closer to the family and earn their daily bread as well.
Migrant workers at Tiruppur apparel units – whose exports stood at Rs 34,350 crore in FY23 – largely come from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.Noida gains
Tiruppur’s loss has been a gain to apparel units in Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
“We are not feeling the heat of shortage of labourers anymore,” said Lalit Thukral, president of Noida Apparel Export Cluster. “The workers are returning and joining us.”
The Noida apparel cluster houses 3,000 units and in the current fiscal, it aims to achieve an export revenue of Rs 40,000 crore.
Also, new apparel clusters are coming up in Gorakhpur and Bundelkhand in UP, Thukral said.
“The apparel manufacturers from other states are coming to these areas to set up garment export units,” he said. “So, it will be easier for the workers to get jobs. It is also beneficial for the migrant workers from Bihar and Odisha as they are neighbouring states and travel time to homeland will be much less.”
An improvement in law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh is also prompting businesses to set up manufacturing units in the state, industry officials said.
(You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel)