Regional chairman of the Gems & Jewellery Promotion Council, Vijay Mangukia, admitted that the production of diamond has come down by 20 to 21%
Vijay Mangukia, regional chairman of the Gems & Jewellery Promotion Council admitted that the production of diamond has come down by 20 to 21% because, during the peak of the Christmas season, imports had declined by 18% from the US and other countries.
Diamond Workers Union in Surat claimed 10,000 diamond workers have lost their jobs in the last few months because of the decline in production and closing down of small units.
Ramesh Jilariya, president of the Surat Diamond Workers Union said that Thousands of workers are struggling to meet their family needs due to the job cuts. “Many are finding it difficult to regularly pay EMIs of housing or vehicle loans, children's school fees and meeting the daily household expenses, he added.
On January 19, 31-year-old Vipul Jinjala, a diamond worker, allegedly died by suicide after consuming poison. He is survived by his wife and two children, reported IANS.
His younger brother Paresh said that Vipul was facing a financial crunch for the last few months due salary cut amid the rising inflation. “It had become difficult for my brother to make two ends meet and this might have led to his suicide,” he said.
Meanwhile, the union is demanding the state government to strictly implement labour laws in the diamond sector and to cover the workers under the Factory Act, under which labour gets ESCI, provident fund, fixed working hours and other social and health security benefits that other labourers get.
Jilariya's further complained that diamond workers don't have any social security, as they are not registered employees, and not getting a salary slip or filing income tax returns, so they don't get other benefits too, reported IANS.
In December 2022, India finished diamond exports stood at $2356.70 million, which is 18.90% less which was at $2905 million in December 2021, according to data.
Mangukia further said due to this production units have to cut production. However, he refuted that thousands of labourers are jobless. “Production cut is not met by laying off workers, instead, units have reduced working hours from 12 to 10 or 8 hours and instead of one weekly off, now units give 2 weekly offs,” he said as quoted by IANS.
Jilariya alleged that because of the cut in working hours and increased weekly offs, workers cut and polish less diamonds. “Since their salaries are linked to pieces and performance, these steps are proving disastrous for the workers,” he added.
Nanubhai Vekariya, president of the Surat Diamond Association claimed that not a single diamond unit has closed down in the last two to three months. “An unnecessary hue and cry are being made over the recession, whereas industry is working at 100 percent capacity. Around 3000 units are employing 7 lakh workers in Surat,” he claimed as quoted by IANS.
Source: Times Now News