Naxal trade unions quietly setting up base in Tamil Nadu factories

CHENNAI: Industry in Tamil Nadu is trying to come to grips with a startling internal discovery that ‘fringe militant trade unions’ – code phrase for Naxalites – have incognito established a foothold in key industrial belts in a state far removed from the heartland of Maoist extremism.

In recent weeks, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Employers’ Federation of Southern India have, in closed-door meetings, discussed how to deal with this problem, two senior members of the associations told ET on condition of anonymity. The CII’s sub-committee on human relations and industrial relations itself is said to have held at least three meetings in this regard.

The presence of Naxalites and the associated fear of violence and extremism could be a setback to Tamil Nadu, whose fortunes hinge significantly on industries. The state is home to the most number of factories (more than 21,000) and is the base for top global companies such as Nokia, Dell, BMW, Daimler and Hyundai.

A member of the CII said the issue came to light when a number of small and medium companies started getting suspicious about the entry of new labour groups in their plants and decided to investigate.

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