The Madras High Court has ordered government officials to inspect the Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai on June 1 for COVID-19 safety compliance. This, after the auto major shut down operations earlier this week as workers went on strike stating that the factory was not prioritising their safety during the pandemic. The workers union of the Renault-Nissan unit had gone to court earlier asking for auto majors to be removed from the list of continuous process industries, which are being allowed to operate during the lockdown, as they were not manufacturing essential goods.
The workers said that it was impossible to maintain physical distancing inside the plant. A few of the workers have also contracted COVID-19 and some of them have died. The workers also demanded that the plant take corrective measures immediately and implement COVID-19 safety norms. The other demands included rehabilitation of families of workers who died due to COVID-19 and medical treatment for those who tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a statement, Renault Nissan said that it had closed the plant on May 26. â€œWe are currently reviewing our current safety protocols, and future safety measures, and continue a close and constructive dialogue with the union representatives so that, together, we can ensure the highest standards of safety are in place for when the plant resumes operations," the auto major said in a statement.
In the Madras High Court, Nissan Motor, which is the Indian partner of Renault, said that the plant was complying with all COVID-19 safety precautions. The court directed a senior official from the Directorate of Industrial Safety to visit the plant on June 1 and check on its safety measures. The company has also been asked to report on the number of its workers who have been infected. Work has also stopped at the Ford and Hyundai plants in Chennai after workers went on a strike in May over lack of COVID-19 safety protocol compliance.