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Trade unions time for introspection?


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Trade unions time for introspection?

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Trade unions time for introspection?

  2. 2. • The remarks of Sri.A.K. Antony, while inaugurating the Brahmos Integration Complex created a big stir. He candidly stated that no new enterprise could be opened within the last two years in Kerala as opposed to 6 enterprises, under the Ministry of Defense, during the tenure of the former Left government. The statement was rather forced by the ongoing agitations of trade unions at Brahmos Aerospace and stood in stark contrast to the euphoria generated by the just concluded ‘Emerging Kerala’. The members of the ruling coalition rushed in to decry the statement even as members of the opposition attempted to harvest the glory. But, the truth behind the statement stares at us, however harsh it may seem.• Kerala has always lagged behind in industrial growth. It is a fact known to and admitted by all. The reasons are varied and range from weak infrastructure to lack of resources. However, trade unionism, which at times, assumes militant overtones, has been the most prominent of them all, retarding industrial development. As an entrepreneur from Kerala, I can vouch for that fact. In fact, I distinctly recall the early 80’s when trade unionism lifted it’s head; I was forced to think of alternatives. Time moved on and years later, we encountered the very same issue at V-Star. The attitude of the unions was the same. Only, the professed reasons were different. In spite of being on the right side of the law, having our own registered workers under the Head Load Workers Act, our work was obstructed until the High Court intervened in our favor, with positive judgments. Even the Police authorities refuse to act, in such situations, terming it to be labor disputes. Often, it’s the local leaders, behind the unions, who call the shots and the senior leaders, however large the Party may be, fail to keep them in check and enforce discipline.
  3. 3. • Sri. Antony has dared to speak out, in a State where many suffer in silence. Though it is a fact that he was but constrained to speak, in view of the situation in Brahmos, within the fold of his own Ministry. What about the unknown voices, whose dreams had withered away, unknown to all. I have known many a young entrepreneur who called it quits, when the going got tough. It’s not that they lacked the idea, the resources or the vision. They simply couldn’t resist the forces, acting under the name of trade unions. No wonder, our State still has a dubious reputation. How many sustainable businesses can you recall from Kerala? I often use to joke that I’m known as an Entrepreneur only because it is Kerala, where there are but few industries. Isn’t it time to introspect?