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More employment through contract system

M. Soundariya Preetha



FARAWAY HELP: Hampered by severe labour shortage the foundry industry in Coimbatore depends on migrant workers from Orissa and Bihar. - Photo: K. Ananthan

COIMBATORE: Manpower shortage that has come with booming business and expanded capacities in foundries seems to have created new opportunities for a section of people here.

As the units struggle to find workers, especially for labour-intensive unskilled works, labour contractors are finding opportunities in a number of foundries here. Coimbatore is said to have over 40 such contractors who provide labour to the foundries. The number has gone up in recent years as business is growing and even the closed units have been revived.

A. Velusamy, a labour contractor for the last 15 years, says more foundries now entrust works such as melting to the contractors. Mr. Velusamy goes to the villages in the Southern districts and even other States such as Bihar and Orissa twice or thrice a year to get workers. Most of these labourers are unemployed and are aged between 28 and 40.

Mr. Velusamy points out that many contractors have worked in foundries and hence "know the job". "We should be able to perform better than workers employed by the foundries directly," he adds. A contractor takes up work in three or four units simultaneously. He also arranges shelter, grocery and medicine supply to the workers. However, there are problems such as workers migrating to other units.

One of the general managers in a foundry here says the number of works entrusted to the contractor varies according to the unit. This system helps the units overcome labour shortage problem for unskilled works. It also provides job to many.

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