Swedish and Finnish based NGOs Swedwatch and Finnwatch have called for better safety and working conditions to be implemented in Tamil Nadu based Swedish/Finnish company Stora Enso. Stora Enso which produces forest based industrial products acquired the Inpac factory units based in Irungattukottai which develop packaging materials for mobile phones and other manufactures.
The report has said that Stora Enso had conducted a human rights impacts study prior to its acquisition in 2011 and was aware of several human rights issues in the plant. The major issue identified by the study is related to safety of the workers in the plant. The report has highlighted several injuries to workers and has linked the cause of the issue to lack of safety training and safety implementation with the workers exposed to dangerously high temperatures.
The report has also called for improving the wage of the workers. While Stora Enso has recognized the AITUC workers union in the factory and has signed a collective agreement with the union, the current wage of Rs 5500 for unskilled workers to Rs 11000 for senior technicians is not equivalent to a living wage of Rs 15000 as calculated by the report based on prevailing consumer prices. The report further states that this is not comparable to other manufacturing companies in the region.The study has also highlighted the inequality in wages based on gender and regionality.While the majority of the workers in the factory are permanent, the company uses contract services in peripheral operations and the study highlights the worse living and working conditions for these workers.
The group has called for several recommendations to the company and to policy makers to improve the human rights conditions of the workers. For the complete report, click here.