Kochi: The management of Synthite Industries Ltd at Kadayiruppu near Kolenchery has declared a lockout following the strike of Synthite Employees Union affiliated to CITU for the past two days. The management opted for the temporary closure even as the labour commissioner called for a reconciliation meeting on Thursday in Thiruvananthapuram. The two-day agitation, coming soon after a 37-day strike a few weeks ago, has put a shadow over the government's efforts to create a business-friendly image, say industry leaders.
Kerala now ranks 16 among the Indian states on the ease of doing business (EoDB) index. Synthite, one of the major players in spice processing and extraction in the country, has often been cited as one of the big success stories of Kerala's home-grown industries. “It is a matter of deep shame and regret that one of the leading industries in the state has been constrained to suspend operations today due to unfavourable working conditions and ongoing strikes in their factory,” said Shaji Varghese, the president of Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"The issue has been festering for long and could have been sorted out if authorities concerned had applied their mind to resolve the matter without having to come to this unfortunate impasse." "The world leader in the production of spice oleoresin should not have been subjected to this kind of vandalism," said Prakash Namboodiri, chairman of All India Spices Exporters Forum. "The disruption of work in the unit will only help to reinforce the image of Kerala as a place hostile to business."
The Union spearheading the agitation alleged that the firm was harassing workers who have joined the union. Claiming that the present management was following a policy of hostility, they said the union had been only demanding their legitimate rights. The management, on the other hand, alleged that the police remained mute spectators when they indulged in violence and vandalism. Workers willing to join for duty were prevented forcibly, and police failed to act, management sources said....