The Tamil Nadu government has asked Collectors to speak to industrial units in their districts and ensure they maintain a healthy relationship with their workers.
“We have asked the Collectors to speak to companies and monitor these places constantly to maintain healthy industrial relations. We have asked them to form committees and inspect these places on various parameters such as hygiene and safety,” a senior official said.
Another official said the Kancheepuram Collector had formed a committee, and teams were visiting all the dormitories in the region. “There are many such hostels/dormitories in Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. All of them will be closely monitored,” the official said. Most of these dormitories are college hostels.
Government officials whom The Hindu spoke to said fresh licences had been issued by the Department of Social Welfare to certain dormitories which could take in the first batch of women returning to work at Foxconn’s manufacturing unit. “Around 550-600 of them are expected to join work in the first phase when the company reopens after getting clearance from its headquarters,” the official said. The officials did not spell out a date for the reopening of the factory.
When asked about media reports on China influencing the Foxconn protests, sources did not want to comment. “There are fringe elements who get active on and off, and they try to fish in troubled waters. But we are making every effort to ensure that Tamil Nadu remains a good investment destination. Such issues crop up when there is no direct relationship between the companies and the workers,” an official said.
Apple-supplier Foxconn closed down its unit following protests by its workers after many of their colleagues were hospitalised for food poisoning. The protesting women said the dormitories where they stayed did not meet standards, and living conditions were poor.
The government came out with a formal statement that there had been an outbreak of acute diarrhoeal disease, and 159 employees had been admitted to hospital. All of them were discharged upon recovery. Thereafter, inspections were carried out at the dormitories, which were found to have not met the required standards.
Last week, Apple placed Foxconn’s Sriperumbudur facility on probation.
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