Surat's diamond industry sees 20,000 job losses in one month
Diamond cutting and polishing hub Surat has seen around 20,000 job losses over the past month due to a drop in international demand. The industry now faces fears over whether this will result in a full-scale recession.
“Fear is looming large in the diamond city of Surat whether the recession of 2008 will be repeated this year too,” said the Diamond Workers Union of Gujarat’s president Bhavesh Tank, ET Bureau reported. “Orders are fewer and so the workload is less. Therefore, the units are reducing [their] workforce. Some units are cutting down work days so that they do not have to pay the workers on days when they are not working.”
Surat’s diamond industry employs around 8 lakh workers, many coming to the area from across India. With around 4,000 diamond cutting and polishing units, Surat is responsible for cutting and polishing close to 80% of all diamonds in the world.
A drop in the price of polished diamonds is reducing the profit margins of traders which also makes it harder for them to maintain their workforce. However, the workers themselves are facing rising rent and essential goods costs.
“With the pandemic in China making a comeback and there are no signs of respite from the war between Russia and Ukraine, inflation soaring in some parts of the world, we are out there for some tough times,” said Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council chairman Vipul Shah. “The last quarter of this fiscal year is very crucial as it demands strong growth to achieve this year’s target of $45.7 billion.”
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