The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed officials to depute representatives to visit car manufacturing units near Chennai, including that of Renault-Nissan, to check whether the COVID-19 norms like maintaining physical distancing, temperature checks, wearing of masks etc., are followed by workers and management in such premises. The court has instructed the Directorate of Industrial Safety (DIS) to appoint representatives to visit the manufacturing facility of Renault-Nissan and others this week.
"This is to ensure that uniform guidelines are imposed and if a departure is necessary, the special reasons for it should be indicated," the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said. The present norms being followed may not be tweaked by the Renault management, the bench said. The court was passing further interim orders on a public interest writ petition from the workers union, by its president Balaji Krishnan.
The plea challenged the May 8 notification of the Revenue Disaster Management department, which granted exemption from the lockdown conditions and permitted the factory to function by adhering to the COVID-19 protocols. When the matter came up on Tuesday, the management apprised the judges that a particular arrangement being maintained now is impeding production and it may not be necessary. The company's counsel added that it is unfair to single out Renault alone. After workmen's submissions, the bench said the arrangement was put in place following discussions between the workmen and the management and in the presence of officials from the DIS.
In a statement, a Nissan spokesperson said, "We are committed to complying with the directives of the Madras High Court, working with the government stakeholders and coordinating with the (workers) union to reach an amicable and mutually agreeable resolution for all. As in the past, we will cooperate with inspections by relevant authorities and stakeholders, and comply with recommendations by the state government, based on industry best practices."