The ongoing strike of its 4,000 workers at the textile conglomerate Arvind Ltd’s Naroda plant is impacting the company’s production adversely. On Monday, another 1,000-odd workers joined the strike in its voiles division. While the Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association is in talks with the Textile Labour Association on behalf of Arvind, the company has been relying heavily on contractual labour to tide over the tough times. In an interview with Vinay Umarji, the company’s Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Lalbhai tells how the denim major is tackling the issue. Edited excerpts:
Do you think that the demand of workers, 40 per cent hike in wages, is justified?
It is not a question of their demands being justified or not. This is not the right way to raise an issue. There has to be a proper dialogue. And, such a dialogue was already on in the industrial court. The workers should have come to us through the right channel of Majdoor Mahajan (Textile Labour Association).
The Naroda plant manufactures 84 million metres of denim per annum. Has the production been hampered drastically?
We are running at a lower capacity, but things are improving with each passing day. We are hiring more number of workers on contract basis, which is helping us increase capacity utilisation day by day.
Have your order commitments been impacted? Are there any new orders?
Orders have not been impacted because we are running the plant, though at a lower capacity. No, our new orders have not been impacted.
In the recent past, one of the multinational companies sought the government’s intervention during a strike at its Gujarat plant? Are you looking at the same?
There is already a dialogue going on between the Textile Labour Association and the Ahmedabad Textile Mills Association in the industrial court. We don’t see a need to seek the government’s intervention here.
Have you spoken to investors?
We are continually speaking to our investors and other stakeholders. We have assured them that things are coming back on track.