Human Resource – A Cause of Concern for Ludhiana Hosiery Industry
School of Management Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala – 147002, Punjab, India
Ludhiana hosiery industry is largely dependent on migrated workers. On one hand, this migrated workforce is the lifeline of Ludhiana hosiery industry; on other hand the outdated skills of these workers have stagnated the growth of the industry. Hosiery industry started in Ludhiana in mid 20th century. Ludhiana was pioneer in production of hosiery products in India. In 1960s, the first hosiery unit was established in Tirupur. In the initial years, workers who had worked in Ludhiana hosiery units were in high demand and given higher wages in Tirupur. But today, the scene is entirely different. Tirupur represents Indian hosiery industry on International map and Ludhiana is limiting itself to woolen products, but in other hosiery products it is not competitive any more. India’s 80% hosiery exports are from Tirupur only. When India came out of the quota regime, it was expected that Indian hosiery industry will get major boom, but it never happened. The exporters have different views on this issue. Some have view that China and Bangladesh are the major source of low cost hosiery products and in India production cost per unit is higher because of low productivity. Few exporters suggest that the Ludhiana being located away from sea port, it has high cost of exports. Few say that interest rates are high because of which Ludhiana hosiery industry is not competitive. But all agree on one point that if labor skills are improved, they can switchover from commodity articles to high value-added articles, which can bring better price realization and their international competitiveness can be improved. They all feel that the labor skills standards are far from skill standards of Chinese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Thai workers. In this paper, an attempt is made to understand and analyze the HR policies and attitude of manufacturers towards workers in Ludhiana hosiery industry.
Keywords: Ludhiana Hosiery Industry, Industrial Clusters, Competitiveness Factors, HR Policy Implications