Covid-19 effect: No wages for Gujarat diamond workers during lockdown

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Published: May 6, 2020 2:00:48 AM

Despite the Gujarat government’s order to pay salaries to workers during lockdown period, lakhs of diamond artisans in Surat have not been paid their wages by their employers, said Diamond Workers Union – Gujarat.

 except a few diamond companies, most of the owners of diamond units have not paid salaries to their workers.Except a few diamond companies, most of the owners of diamond units have not paid salaries to their workers.

Despite the Gujarat government’s order to pay salaries to workers during lockdown period, lakhs of diamond artisans in Surat have not been paid their wages by their employers, said Diamond Workers Union – Gujarat.

“We have filed complaints against 100-plus diamond units that haven’t paid salaries to artisans. The union has given a memorandum to the Deputy Labour Commissioner (DLO) of Surat to take action against errant units along with the copy of the FIR,” said Ramesh Jilariya, president of Diamond Workers Union – Gujarat.

At a time when the state as well as central government is making arrangements for travelling of migrant labourers to their native places, the labourers must get their salaries before they leave the city, said Jilariya. He said except a few diamond companies, most of the owners of diamond units have not paid salaries to their workers.

On Tuesday, vice-president of the union Bhavesh Tank was detained for announcing a protest against those diamond units that failed to pay wages. Later on, Tank was released. Responding to the representation of the union, DLO GL Patel issued notices to Surat Diamond Association as well as Gems & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (Gujarat) to ensure payment of salaries to diamond workers.

“We are in the process to persuade owners of the diamond units to pay salaries at association level. There are many units which are not in position of paying salaries as their crores of rupees are stuck due to recession and lockdown. Despite all these problems, we are doing genuine efforts to pay wages to artisans,” said Babubhai Kathiria, president of Surat Diamond Association.

Nine out of every 10 rough diamonds in the world are being cut and polished in Surat. Nearly 20,000 diamond cutting and polishing units are functioning in Gujarat, mostly in Surat. Nearly 15% units are in Saurashtra region. Over 10 lakh workers are employed in these units. Most of these workers have not been either paid or got only partial salaries during the past 40 days, the workers’ union said.

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