Six months after Taiwanese company Foxconn shut down its operations here, the issue echoed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today with CPI(M) alleging that companies do not give employees' their rights like forming a trade union after getting state concessions to start their businesses.
CPI(M) legislator A Soundararajan said companies get concessions from the government to start business ventures. However, employees were not given rights like the right to form trade unions and collective bargaining. Participating in a discussion on the demand for grants to industries department, he said Foxconn plant had shut down operations in Chennai which had led to many losing their jobs.
The company, which was making mobile phone panels for Nokia had operated from Nokia Special Economic Zone here. It closed down operations on February 10 this year after the closure of Nokia facility. Intervening, Industries Minister P Thangamani said the concessions were provided with the ambit of law in an ambience competition among states to promote growth.
He cited a private Special Economic Zone in Tada in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh which is close to Chennai, to refer to the levels of competition and the background in which concessions were offered to industries. On Foxconn, he said a protest by employees before it was shutdown witnessed damage to a design module, and pointed out that it had a bearing on the thinking of the firm when talks were held with them for setting up a facility here again.
To this, Soundararajan made a remark which was expunged. The Minister said, "the member (Soundararajan) should not get worked up. There is nothing wrong in employees fighting for rights. It should however be in a righteous (democratic) manner and that is what I am pointing out." He also blamed the previous regime for its handling of the issue. "Both the industries and employees should grow and that is the objective of the government," he said.