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It is a matter of deep shame and regret that one of the leading and world-renowned industries in the State – Synthite Industries – has been constrained to suspend operations today due to certain unfavourable working conditions and ongoing strikes in their factory, which have adversely affected the smooth working and productivity of the Company over the past two months.

The Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry is deeply distressed and concerned to learn about this. This is especially so since the Chamber, on learning about this issue, had initiated discussions with the other trade bodies here and singly and jointly represented the matter at the highest levels seeking their intervention in the matter. We made several requests to the authorities concerned to ensure that the issues are amicably resolved in order to quell the unrest in the Company.

This is an issue that has been festering for long and one that could have been sorted out if the authorities concerned had applied their minds to resolving the matter without it having to come to this unfortunate impasse.

Synthite Industries having to suspend operations in the face of the threats of violence against its employees is a blemish on the State of Kerala and goes against the grain of the Government’s public agenda of canvassing more and more investments to the State. We fear that this development will have serious and long term consequences on the industrial growth of Kerala in the times to come.

It is saddening to note that a Company, established in the year 1972 and currently providing direct employment to over 2,500 people has had to resort to such extreme measures. This is the result of the collective failure of all concerned and we need to hang our heads in shame at this unfortunate situation.
The direct aggressive and unchallenged actions of a prominent trade union of the State are the causes for this and we need to introspect seriously and address this issue if we are to protect the industry.

Synthite Industries, which has a turnover of Rs.1,800 Crores and accounts for over 50% of India’s exports of spices and spice extracts. It is a Company that has in a few decades become a name to be reckoned with as one of the leading employers in Kerala – a home-grown Company that Kerala should be proud of.

The developments leading to the current situation put a serious question mark on the Government’s claim that they intend to make Kerala an investor-friendly State. The Government and the other agencies concerned have failed miserably in this regard. They should have initiated affirmative action at the appropriate time to ensure that the said Company is allowed to function without any hassles, as they have been doing all this while.

We are deeply concerned that the negative impact of this will have very serious and long-lasting repercussions for industry here as a whole, and future investments in Kerala.

In the circumstances, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry once again urges the Government and all concerned to step in and initiate damage control measures to see how the situation can be resolved immediately to facilitate the smooth functioning of the Company.


Shaji Varghese