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Hyundai to shut factory after tussle with workers: New Creta waiting period to rise?

Amidst the rising cases during the second wave of COVID-19 in India, most manufacturers did not shut down the operations. After the workers of the Renault-Nissan plant protested working during the COVID-19 pandemic fearing their loss of life, Hyundai workers have jumped the bandwagon. Hyundai Motor India, the second-largest manufacturer in India has suspended its operations for a week following a face-off between the factory workers and the management.

Hyundai Motor India’s plant near Chennai will be shut for a week’s time. Several workers at the plant demanded Hyundai to shut down the plant for the past five days. The workers started making such demands after a few positive cases were found within the HMI premises.

An official who talked to ET Auto on anonymity said,

“The workers from the first shift refused to work on the shop floor on Monday morning and confronted the company management with the demand to shut down the plant to break the chain. About 7-8 employees have lost their lives to COVID over the past few days. They were mostly managerial level employees including senior engineers in the Hyundai factory,”

While Hyundai is yet to share an official statement on the development, the report further claims that more than 300 fellow workers were infected by COVID-19 over the past few days. The cases were rising even after the official government curfew and lockdown in the state.

Hyundai Motor India has confirmed the development and said,

“Considering the prevailing situation in Tamil Nadu, Hyundai management has decided to temporarily suspend the plant operations for a period of 5 days, starting tomorrow, 25 May 2021 until 29 May 2021. However, today (24th May) the plant operations are underway as per schedule.”

As per Hyundai, two employees have lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The waiting period to rise?

The waiting period of the Hyundai Creta may rise due to the COVID-19 situation and related suspension of work in the factory. Currently, The Creta is the top-selling car in the segment and has a high demand too. In some cities, depending on the variant of the car, the waiting period has increased to about 32 weeks or about eight months. The suspension of work can increase it further.

Hyundai has more than 2,000 workers at its Sriperumbudur plant located near Chennai. The factory operates in three shifts and the assembly line are currently running near-full capacity as there is a strong demand for vehicles in the market.

Hyundai also said,

“As a caring and responsible corporate, Hyundai Motor India has always prioritised the safety, health and well-being of its employees. During the ongoing second wave of COVID- 19 pandemic, the company has undertaken several proactive and progressive measures to empower, enable and support the workforce,”

Tamil Nadu has become the new epicentre for COVID-19 in the second wave. The state has closed its borders too and there are more than 3 lakh active COVID-19 cases. It is currently under lockdown and the recently appointed chief minister  MK Stalin said that lockdown without concessions can contain this infection completely.