Wednesday, February 07, 2007

SEZs flout labour laws, says TNGEU president

Special Correspondent

"Exploit employees by extracting 12-hour work daily"

CUDDALORE: The units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are flagrantly
flouting labour laws and are treating the employees as bonded labourers,
alleged K. Balasubramanian, president of the Tamil Nadu Government
Employees' Union (TNGEU).

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Mr. Balasubramanian said
the units in the SEZs used to exploit employees by extracting 12-hour
work daily, without providing them adequate compensation.

The units used to sack the employees at any time, without any valid
reasons, and yet the employees were prohibited from forming unions to
assert their rights.

He said already 237 SEZs had been set up across the country and 37 more
were in the pipeline. At present there were 400 SEZs in the world, and
two-third of them were located in India.

The TNGEU president further said thousands of acres of land allotted to
the SEZs were concentrated in the private lands.

Whenever the industrialists quit the SEZs, owing to losses or for other
reasons, they would dispose of the lands at a premium, thus transforming
themselves into realtors.

Therefore, he called upon the Centre and the State Governments to take
suitable measures to protect the employees' rights and to prevent
transfer of lands for profits.

`Raise I-T limit'

Mr. Balasubramanian urged the Centre to increase the Income Tax limit
for individuals from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh and enhance the interest
rate on the general provident fund contribution from eight to 12 per
cent. The TNGEU was vehemently opposed to the concept of the
contributory pension funds that provided for compulsory investment of
five per cent of the super-annuation benefits on shares. He also sought
the lifting of the eligibility and entitlement ceiling fixed for getting
bonus. Mr. Balasubramanian noted that the United Progressive Alliance
government was yet to fulfil its election promise of passing legislation
on right to strike.

The TNGEU was opposed to allowing foreign hands in the banking sector,
because investment of every Re 1 would enable them to access Rs.150, and
thus result in funneling of funds.

Mr. Balasubramanian said the State Government should give retirement
benefits to those who had retired from services during the period from
April 1,2003 to June 30,2008.


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