In July this year the Madras High Court ordered a 30% pay hike in the salary of garment factory workers in Tamil Nadu. These factories supply to many big names in the Fashion Industry, like Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M (which maintains upwards of 20 suppliers in Tamil Nadu), Zara and Wal-Mart, etc. The Fashion Labels have vehemently opposed the idea and have preferred an appeal
The workers are now protesting to enforce the first minimum wage increase in 12years in the state. As according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948, the state must increase the minimum wages every 5 years, to protect the workers against labor exploitation.
The Garment and Fashion Workers Union in a statement has also supported the worker’s protest to the stagnant wages. If the court rulings is to be followed, then the workers would see a considerable hike in their pay from Rs 4500/- to Rs 6500/-. This hike would bring workers in Tamil Nadu at par with other garment and textile workers in other states.
The state however is not very psyched make these increments, and is of the opinion that, if such changes are indeed made, manufactures would move to such states which have manufacture friendly labor policies. Similarly the manufactures have synced up in the same tune as that of the state, saying that the hike proposed is far too high and such changes would put them in a disadvantageous position in comparison to their competitions that have their units in other states.