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  • Cashew sector talks draw a blank

    Jan 28th, 2017

    Talks between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a section of private sector cashew processors in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday to find a solution to reopen cashew factories that have remained closed drew a blank. A large number of private cashew factories have shut down operations following the last minimum wages hike in 2015. Private processors say with 35 per cent hike in minimum wages, there was steep hike in the cost of production, thereby rendering the finished product uncompetitive in the domestic and international markets. They suggested a 25 per cent hike. Former Labour Minister and CITU leader P.K. Gurudasan said the talks with the Chief Minister pertained mainly to the reopening of a chain of factories owned by a single group. But the owner was firm that the factories can be operated only if the minimum wages was slashed. Mr. Gurudasan told The Hindu that the revised minimum wages notified by the government cannot be slashed. However, the Chief Minister informed the owner that if he could first open the factories, the government would constitute a review committee to study issues and make amends after that. However, the owner expressed his reservations to the suggestion too, Mr. Gurudasan said. Stir reaches 50 days.He said on Saturday, the agitation called by the CITU-affiliated Cashew Workers Centre in front of the factories would reach 50 days. He alleged that private processors had kept the factories closed under the guise of the minimum wages hike to shift operations to the neighbouring States. Though the Chief Minister had assured private sectors processors all support to maintain the health of the cashew industry in the State, the private sector owners were unresponsive. He said cashew was a vital traditional sector industry in the State and all measures would be taken to prevent the exodus of any more cashew factories to neighbouring States. With regard to the failure of Thursday’s talks, the CITU would decided upon the further course of action, Mr. Gurudasan said.