After Hyundai and Renault-Nissan, the Ford India management will halt production at its Chennai plant for two days – Friday and Saturday – in the wake of the raging Covid infections in the state. The decision comes after the union at the factory – Chennai Ford Employees’ Union – held a food boycott protest at the plant on Thursday, demanding production halt till the end of the lockdown period in Tamil Nadu, compensation for the workers deceased due to Covid-19 and appropriate treatment for infected workers.
A Ford India spokesperson told FE: “We remain engaged in a dialogue with the union on additional aspects related to health and safety and have decided to keep the operations suspended on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29.”
The spokesperson said the safety of the workforce remains its topmost priority. “For our operations, we are following strict safety and health guidelines issued by the government of Tamil Nadu and global health authorities. We have also taken regular feedback from employees to keep the workplace safe and kept operations at our Chennai plant suspended from May 14 till May 22, only to resume on May 24,” he said.
According to sources in the union, two workers have died and more than 230 workers have been affected by Covid-19. There had also been complaints by the workers of lack of appropriate medical help. The union had a number of dialogues with the management on the issue of providing safety for the workers at the plant, they added.
Tamil Nadu is one of the worst-hit Covid states with daily average cases of over 30,000. The state’s automobile belt, home to big names in the industry, has been witnessing worker unrest over the issue of safety protocol. Renault-Nissan halted plant operations for five days from May 26 to 30, owing to resentment from workers on Covid-related safety. Hyundai Motor India had also decided to temporarily suspend operations at its plant in Tamil Nadu from May 25 to 29, after several workers briefly staged a sit-in protest.
Royal Enfield has decided to shut down manufacturing facilities in Chennai from May 27 to May 29 for the safety of workers. It intends to resume operations on May 31. Sources said Royal Enfield has not faced any labour issues at its plants, unlike Renault-Nissan and Hyundai. It had temporarily halted production at its manufacturing facilities in Chennai between May 13 and May 16. The company has manufacturing operations at Thiruvottiyur, Oragadam and Vallam Vadagal.
India Yamaha Motor (IYM) has also decided to suspend manufacturing operations at its plant in Kanchipuram in view of the rising Covid cases. The company said operations will be halted at the plant from May 15-31, a statement from India Yamaha had said.
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