Power loom workers of Surat have been on strike since January 17, 2011, in support of their demand for increased wages. There have been militant clashes with the police in which nearly 15 workers have been reported to be injured.
As a result of the strike, six lakh power looms in the city have come to a standstill. Majority of industrial estates housing weaving units are closed, as workers are refusing to join duty despite police harassment. About three crore meters of fabric are produced every day in these looms, by about 7 lakh migrant workers from Orissa, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Of these, 4 lakh are from Bihar and Orissa. The production of the polyester fabric has been badly affected. Surat contributes roughly 40% to the polyester market country wide. As we go to press, negotiations are on between the weavers association and the workers unions over the wages issue. .