Monday, December 21, 2009

Textile mills

‘’’’’’’ladSo and so Textile mill downs its shutters….

The papers were at one time full of such news iiems.i As a consequence of such closure thousands of workers faced a grim future .Earlier also such news items appeared but these closures were temporary due to stike of work by the mill workers.The loss of wages for the period was more than made good of during the negotiation that followed. The Labour Unions were quite strong then.

However, in the sixties the business collapsed and the mills bagan to shut down one after the other .And while the workers did receive compensation as per regulations it could hardly last long. The Labour Unions which appeared quite strong when the Mills were running and could bring about a strike at the drop of a hat were unequal to the challenge of mass unemployment of the workers that brought by the closures.There was talk of Workers’ Cooperatives but it remained only wastage of ,as they say of the vapour of the mouth.

Website Development Nashik

However ,while this was largely true of the textile sector this did not happen everywhere especially at places where the Labour Movement was strong and not just a medium for tom-toming leadership.And in fields which were not as organized as the textile industry.

Kerala which is famous for its strong Leftist bend and which gave the first Communist Govt. in the world which had come out the Ballot Box.

A major construction cooperative venture in North Kerala ULCCS 9Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society)showed what even labourers at the lowest rung of the labour ladder on which construction workers are said to stand could scale the ladder and reach the top.This is a large constructive cooperative society in North Kerala. At Madappally(Dt Kozihikode) The directors or even the shareholders of this society were no multi-millionaire merchants interested in investing in some profitable venture. They were just workers mostly uneducated stone mine workers oppressed by poverty and caste suppression. Out to generate employjment for the poor and the backward.

They began with just a dozen( 14 to be pecise) members nearly 75 years ago in 1925.Slowly the strength built u;p to a thousand (950-odd to be specific) Of these almost a hundred were disabled workers. From the village and the surrounding areas.

The society has a unique system of taking memers

Naure of work. Nature of work Period of

Labourer Sttone crushing One year becomes member

Road Project Road construction Road construction-Satisfactory work

Site supervisor Site supervision Site construcion Satisfacrory work

Project Manager Handling of project work.Satisfactory work

Director In due course

Seven directors of the firm had had only schooleducation.

All members ,including are daily paid workers, the director gets a marginal 15 percent above the member worker

Age of retirement 60 years of age

With various benefits

The President holds just an IIT certificate and he joined as a Site Supervisor He is also the Chairman and the Managing Director of an I.T. park ;proposed.

For the last three years the Society is facing an acute shortage of fresh hands. as the youths are not interested in manual workers.They have therefore logged on to an IT venture as an investment for the coming generation. The land for the Park comes out of land acquired them for mixing etc which is lying idle after completion of the work.The society has set apart 10 acres of such sp;are land(15 acresw) for rhe proposed IT park. Ths State Govt. has promised all cooperation required for the project as this would be the first such Park in North Kerala.The profits from the Park when it become operative would be distributed amoing the members. The government has spared the services of the CEO of the state-run IT Park at Kochi. When it becomes fully operative it will give employment to 15000.Part of the funds would be for the society’s own resources while the rest would be borrowed from banks. At present the assets of the ULCCS are as high as 125 crores.The value of the projets execduted by it last year is 75 crores. The paidup capital of the society is approx Rs.4 crores which partly comes from the members andrest from government grants in the form of loans.The share price is realized from the workers at the rate of 10 percent of their wages. Members can increase their shares till they retire.

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The project shows that can be done by ordinary people when they are determined. The IT ;park that would come up; would be the first park with social ownership;

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