Renault-Nissan’s workforce at its car plant in Tamil Nadu has announced that it will not report for work from Wednesday as their COVID-related safety demands have not been met, a union representing the workers told the company in a letter on Monday. The car manufacturer told the High Court earlier that it needs to continue production at its car plant to meet orders, rejecting claims from the employee union that COVID-19 safety protocols were being ignored at the factory, according to a Reuters report.
Nissan declined to comment, the report states adding that the company says the matter is in court.
The strike at the Tamil Nadu plant comes ahead of a court hearing over allegations from workers that social distancing norms were being flouted and company-provided health benefits outweighed the risk to their lives.
In a court filing – which is not public – Renault-Nissan has argued that there was a “compelling need” to continue operations to fulfill domestic and export orders while also rejecting claims that COVID-19 safety protocols were being ignored at the factory.
“It is a question of life versus livelihood,” M Moorthy, general secretary of Renault Nissan India workers union which represents all 3,500 permanent factory workers, told Reuters. “We just want social distancing protocols to be followed and the management to be responsible for any risks to the workers or their family members.”
The company’s petition says it has always prioritised employee safety and “has left no stone unturned” to ensure the infection does not spread.
“The travelling public consider private vehicles as a safe mode of travel … there is a compelling need for the state to ensure the continued operations of the automobile manufacturers,” the petition said.
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