Madras HC orders TN govt. to supervise Renault Nissan plant

Madras High Court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to have some kind of supervision to ensure that the workers are not forced to work in conditions that can be dangerous to their health. The High Court has also ordered the Renault Nissan alliance to submit the production details after the reduction of shifts from three to two. This has been done after the worker’s at Renault-Nissan’s manufacturing plant announced that they will be going on a strike on Wednesday because their safety demands related to COVID-19 are not being met.

After hearing the case filed by Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangam (RNITS), the Madras High Court said, “It is imperative that some kind of supervision be maintained by the State through the appropriate officers so that the workmen at Renault are not forced to work in conditions that may put their health in danger.”

The RNITS had complained to the court that Renault Nissan Automotive is trying to take an advantage of the exemption that has been granted by the Tamil Nadu Government to meet the production demands only of the export commitments. However, the production plant has not decreased the production level as per RNITS.

Due to this, the court has asked Renault-Nissan if the product has been reduced after the reducing shifts from three to two. The High Court also said that the conversion from three shifts to two shifts is meaningless if the number of workers has not been decreased. “It will be open to the employer to furnish the further details by way of a supplementary affidavit be filed before the matter is taken up next,” the court said.

The union of workers have also complained about the lack of supervision of the current working conditions by any government official whether that is the Directorate of Industrial Safety or the appropriate authorities under the Factories Act. Due to this, the High Court has ordered the Tamil Nadu government to have some kind of supervision over the workers to ensure that they are not being forced to work under unfavourable conditions.

The union has 3,500 workers that are currently working at the Tamil Nadu plant located in Oragadam, Chennai. This is the same plant where the latest launches from Renault and Nissan are being produced. Renault has the Kiger while Nissan has their Magnite that are being produced here. Both the vehicles fall under the compact SUV segment and have pending orders from Indian customers. The waiting period for the Kiger is up to 7 months while for the Magnite the waiting period is 9 months.

Nissan has not yet commented on the matter as they have the majority stake in the production plant. They said that they need to continue the production to meet the production orders. Tamil Nadu just like other states is experiencing an increasing number of coronavirus cases. More than 30,000 cases of coronavirus infections are being registered in Tamil Nadu. The state is in lockdown just like other states of our country. However, some factories which include automotive manufacturing plants are still operating.