Soaring yarn prices hit TN knitwear industries, manufacturers on two-day strike

An already fragile textile industry impacted by the pandemic is being buckled by frequent price hikes, due to which several small and medium size manufacturers are staring at closure.
Garment workers seen operating a sewing machine
Garment workers seen operating a sewing machine
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"The availability of wheat reduced for domestic usage and the government banned its export. They could have done the same thing for the yarn too. They are repeatedly citing scarcity as the reason behind the hike but not banning the export of yarn. The state and Union governments are not ready to reduce the price. Many small units have shut down, and the ones still operational have curtailed their operations due to the pandemic. However, our condition today is cannot be blamed on COVID alone,” he said.

Venkateshan, who runs a small printing unit in Tiruppur, said that the printing industry has seen a price hike of up to Rs 180 in the last four months. “The effect of the hike is greater for manufacturers than the printers like us. But to show solidarity, we are also participating in this strike,” he said.

The effect of increased yarn prices is also felt by printing units, as it reduces the volume of orders they get. “Manufacturers are already facing losses due to the price hike. If they opt for printing, they demand the lowest quotation per t-shirt,” he adds.

According to the Tiruppur Exporters' Association, Tirupur contributes about 45% of the country's total knitwear exports. In 2019-20, Tirupur had exported knitwear worth Rs.27,280 crore, which dipped to Rs 24,750 crore in 2020-21.

CM Stalin, in his letter to the Prime Minister, said that a large number of spinning, weaving, and garment units “face the danger of closure due to unsustainable demands on their working capital and price mismatch between the agreed price of supply to the buyer vis-a-vis the cost of production. As a result, the manufacturers of garments are suffering huge losses and many MSME units have already closed their operations. This has resulted in massive job losses in a sector that is traditionally an employment generator.”

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