The management of Japanese car maker Nissan on Wednesday said the company is committed to offering a competitive package to the employees at the Renault-Nissan’s Chennai plant. The auto maker has been been in healthy discussion with the union to achieve this and taken steps including asking for fair and transparent ‘third party’ arbitration. “In keeping with this, Nissan is open to a retrospective payment to the team at Renault Nissan Automotive India (RNAIPL),” a Nissan spokesperson told FE. An arbitrator, justice P Jyothimani, in an interim order of August 16, 2021, has asked the management of Renault-Nissan to pay Rs 10,000 per month for the 12 months from April 2019 to March 2020, and Rs 5,000 a month for the 16 months from April 2021 to July 2021. The judge has asked the company to pay the arrears in three monthly equal installments commencing from September 1, 2021 to all the 3542 employees. According to the arbitrator, the financial burden on Nissan would be to the tune of Rs 70. 48 crore.
Workers union at Chennai plant, Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangham (RNITS) filed an industrial arbitration suit demanding Rs 20,000 as a monthly interim settlement after the expiry of a previous wage agreement in March 2019. The previous wage agreement was expired on March 31, 2019 and the workmen have raised an industrial dispute comprising charter of demands including wage increase. It was the case of the union that the cost of living has increased, apart form the Covid-19 situation and therefore workers’ union was preparing for a strike demanding wage revision, and the management has agreed to go for an arbitration after the high court seized off the matter.
While the management’s offer was Rs 4,500 increase per month, the workers sought an amount of Rs 20,000 per month as an interim payment, pointing out that wage revision was due since April 2019 and it was already July 2021.
The union cited that the nearest automobile factory of comparable size in the region is of Hyundai Motor India which pays to the technicians doing the same work an average gross salary of Rs 80,000 per month while the Renault-Nissan management was paying between Rs 33,000 to Rs 54,000. According to the union, therefore, there was a prima facie reason for a wage revision of up to Rs 50,000 and they demanded that, on principles of balance of convenience, an interim relief of Rs 20,000 be granted to each worker to mitigate the the present situation.
Reacting further on the matter Nissan said: “We remain fully committed to the Indian market and to our customers, with the locally-produced Nissan Magnite reaching 60,000 bookings to date and July seeing both the highest monthly sales for Magnite since launch, and also the highest sales month for Nissan India for the last three years. Our team in India remains focused on continuing to recover strongly from the challenges that have been affecting all car makers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortage.” In its submission before the arbitrator, Nissan’s counsel has said a comparison with Hyundai, particularly, in respect of the financial position was not proper.
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