PANAJI: The global meltdown which started in the Western countries slowly brought almost the entire world into its grasp and Goa has not been an exception to this.
The general secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, Mr Christopher Fonseca, said the wave of industrial recession, which triggered off in the US has adversely affected Goa.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times,’ the AITUC leader pointed out that as far as the state is concerned, recession has hit the hardest to industries like mining, export, fishing, cashew trade and tourism.
Mr Fonseca informed that over 5,000 workers from various industries have lost their jobs in Goa while many more lost their jobs in the non-farming and other sectors which mostly include people employed on contract basis, short term basis, temporary or seasonal employment.
According to Mr Fonseca, as the effects were felt by many Goan industrialists, expansion plans were put on hold in jewellery and mining industries. Many industries initially did not directly layoff workers, however, some did resort to terminating services of their employees. Mr Fonseca informed that despite facing several problems Zuari Industries did not go in for layoff and added that, “There are some exceptional industrialists who need to be given the credit for not buckling under pressure during such turbulent times.”
Mr Fonseca was of the view that due to this recession, relations between the general management and workers in many factories is under great stress and added that a number of struggles are witnessed in many organisations.
He informed that Goa Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited is the only public sector company where salaries of workers have not been revised for the last 8 years. He also pointed out that there is mass suspension of workers in Star Flex, Saikia Industries Ltd, NUSI Hospital, Sunrise Zinc and some other companies.
Stressing on the minimum wages, he said they have not been revised for the last two years even after there being an increase of 500 points in the index. He added that as per law “when there is an increase of 50 points the government should revise salary but despite of an 500 point rise in index the government has not done it.” Though the labour minister had assured revision in minimum wages within two months, it has not been done as yet, Mr Fonseca said.
He further informed that it has been four months since this decision was conveyed to AITUC and workers’ conditions continue to be pathetic. Mr Fonseca said agriculture and other rural occupations have been given up by many for various socio-economic reasons and added that poverty in rural areas is on the rise which, he said, is being exploited by the politicians. Uprisings and revolts are now witnessed all over the country which, Mr Fonseca said, tells about what is in store for the future.