Renault-Nissan staff to start work today; HC wants safety norms audit

Workers at Renault-Nissan’s car manufacturing plant near Chennai are set to go back to work on Tuesday, after the Madras High Court on Monday ordered them to return and instructed the government to conduct an audit on the Covid-related safety protocols at the facility.

The workers’ union had dragged the company to court alleging that social distancing norms and other Covid-19 protocols set by the government were being flouted at the plant. The workers wanted an assurance that the company would pay heed to their demands including on following safety protocols, rehabilitation of families of deceased workers and providing proper medical treatment to those who are Covid-19 positive.

The management had shut all operations at the plant following resistance from the workers on May 26 and was set to reopen on Monday, but the workers stayed away. The high court ordered that a senior government official visit the plant on Tuesday for an inspection. The court told the workers that they can meet the government official and along with the management can check the safety measures in place. “We have decided to resume work from Tuesday,” M Murthy, secretary of the Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangam (Workers’ Union), told ET.


“This is because the high court has ordered us to get back to our duties while also assuring us that an audit will be conducted by an official from the Factories Department who specialises in safety inspection. We were told that in order for a proper audit to take place, it was crucial that workers were in the factory doing their work,” he said.

Since the management has also agreed to some more of their demands, the workers are willing to get back to work, he added. The management has assured that the family members of the workers who lost their lives due to Covid would be provided employment, he said.

The next hearing of the case at the high court is scheduled for Friday…, Murthy said.


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