Now job loss in diamond sector too; 20% dip in diamond production

Many small units have reportedly shut down and thousands of workers in the sector have been rendered jobless

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A major slowdown has gripped the diamond sector in the country. With reports of many small units having been shut down amidst a significant decline in diamond production, about 10,000 workers are said to have been rendered jobless.

As per the Surat-based Diamond Workers Union, diamond workers are struggling to make ends meet and one of them even took his own life unable to fulfil his family’s needs. The diamond workers are paid for the work they do per piece. Of late, the working hours and shifts in the units have been reduced, which has affected their income.

Unfortunately, it is reported that diamond workers enjoy no social security, because they are not registered employees. They do not receive any benefits because they receive no formal salary slips nor do they file income tax returns. Therefore, they are deprived of other benefits also.

The Union wishes for the Government of Gujarat to implement strict labour laws in the diamond sector so that the workers are protected under the Factory Act. This will ensure that they receive provident fund and enjoy fixed working hours in addition to various other benefits that they deserve.

Diamond production has fallen by at least 20 per cent. One reason is that imports from the US as well as other countries fell by about 18 per cent during the holiday season. Exports of finished diamonds stood at $2,356 million in December 2022, which was way less than the $2,905 in the year before period.

However, the Gems & Jewellery Promotion Council maintains that the drop in production is being taken care of by reducing working hours at the diamond units and not by laying off workers. The Surat Diamond Association also claims that the past couple of months have not been witness to any units being shut down at all.

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