Kerala - India: Severe cash squeeze in cashew sector
KOLLAM:NOVEMBER 27, 2016 19:48 IST
Workers, unpaid for three weeks, meet factory owners
Cash crunch triggered by the November 8 demonetisation declaration is set to grip the cashew sector soon.
For the past three weeks, cashew workers had cooperated with the move despite not being paid their weekly wages on Fridays. Many employers had made arrangements with grocers to supply provision to the workers on credit.
But last Saturday, migrant workers, who constitute a major part of the cashew sector workforce, made it clear that they wanted cash. Many migrant workers met factory owners to convey their problem.
Factory owners told The Hindu that workers were not aggressive, but they were serious about the demand. Things cooled when the owners agreed to pay some cash. Amounts ranging from Rs.200 to Rs.500 per worker were paid by the owners. But they realise that things may not be that easy next Friday.
A medium-sized cashew factory requires more than Rs.7 lakh as cash a week as wages. Some of the bigger factory owners need at least Rs.1 crore. Factory owners say that for various reasons workers do not want their wages deposited in bank accounts.
Post-demonetisation, factory owners can withdraw only Rs.50,000 a week from current accounts. They accuse the State government and the trade unions of ignoring the sector during this crisis situation. In the interim, migrant workers, who have received a portion of their wages have started leaving for their native places. They have been telling the owners they will return when the situation eases.