KOCHI: Minister for Fisheries and Harbour Engineering J. Mercykutty Amma said on Friday that the state government would support the workers of the Special Economic Zone for protection of their rights. “The state government had set up SEZs giving special exemptions in tax and labour laws for industry development and export promotion. Now, industrial unit managements should not be hesitant to give back benefits to employees,” the minister said while inaugurating an employer- employee meeting at Cochin Special Economic Zone on Friday, organised by the government as part of completing 100 days in office.
“The SEZs could fulfill a great extent of the objectives proposed by both the state and Union governments. Product quality could be enhanced along with increase in export. However, it is essential to have an employee-friendly atmosphere in the industrial units. The practice of lesser wages for women workers should be stopped. If managements are not willing, workers should nurture a strong social awareness among themselves to get their demands fulfilled,” the minister said.
The minister added that even though there was a growth of 63 per cent in the GDP, the increase in wages was only 0.2 per cent. “The hike in wages is more frequent at top levels, and not at lower levels which is what leads to economic inequality. In such situations, the role of the government and social organisations is significant,” the minister observed. She also stressed the need to build a healthy relationship among employers and employees avoiding strikes and loss of labour days. The function was also attended by M. Swaraj MLA, Thrikkakara municipal chairperson K.K Neenu, P. Rajeev, CPM district secretary and M.C Josephine.