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  • Cashew processors, TUs cross swords

    Dec 14th, 2015

    All the nine members on the Industrial Relations Committee (IRC) for Cashew representing private sector processors will boycott the IRC meeting called by Labour Minister Shibu Baby John on December 14 in his chamber at the Secretariat.

    The processors are protesting against the alleged trend to force the private sector representatives accept decisions taken by trade union (TU) representatives. But trade union leaders see it as an attempt to deny just wages to cashew workers.

    “IRC decisions are taken as per the dictates of the trade union representatives and imposed on the industry,” the processors say.

    However, Centre of Indian Trade Unions leader J. Mercykutty, one of the trade union leaders on the IRC, alleges that the boycott is a ruse by the private processors to deny just wages to cashew workers. “This is an organised move by the processors to cheat the workers. The government has to intervene and ensure that the rights of the workers are protected,” she says.

    Monday’s IRC meeting is likely to take crucial decisions on wage uniformity in mechanised cashew factories. But the processors say mechanisation is not uniform in all mechanised factories and neither has there been job loss for workers because of mechanisation. “In fact, mechanisation has only made work more comfortable.”

    The processors seem to fear that their representatives will be forced to accept the stance of the trade unions on a new wage revision for the mechanised factories. The trade unions have nine representatives on the IRC.

    The processors point out that when the IRC took a decision on the last Onam bonus by ignoring the contentions of the private sector, the Labour Minister had promised that the State would intervene to make the Central government restore the 5 per cent export incentive for cashew kernels that was slashed to one per cent. “But the State government did not make any intervention. However, in October the Centre issued an order increasing the export incentive of 2,448 export commodities to three per cent and included cashew kernels on the list. The State government is now trying to take credit for the decision,” the processors say.