Renault Nissan Oragadam Plant
Workers say it is a question of life versus livelihood (file photo)

Renault-Nissan India is currently battling a court case against workers at its Tamil Nadu factory over plant operations during the second wave of COVID-19.

The workers recently petitioned a court to halt operations at the facility alleging social distancing norms were being flouted and that the risk to their lives outweighed health benefits provided by the company.

A strict lockdown has been imposed by the Tamil Nadu government between 24th and 31st May citing increased number of COVID-19 cases. Only essential activities have been allowed during the period, but, some factories have been let to continue operations.

Renault Nissan India workers union which represents 3500 permanent factory workers states that “it is a question of life versus livelihood,” adding that it wants the “management to be responsible for any risks to the workers or their family members.”

The Tamil Nadu factory also employs 3000 contract workers, 2500 staff members, 700 apprentices and rolls out cars sold under the Datsun, Nissan and Renault brands.

In its response, Renault-Nissan said all COVID-19 norms were being followed. The company added that it “has left no stone unturned” to ensure the virus does not spread.

The court filing (not made public) with regard to the Renault-Nissan court case, filed on 16th May, notes that the company has 45,000 pending domestic bookings for the Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger compact SUVs.

Also, for the May-October period, it has pending export orders of about 35,000 cars. Thus, Renault-Nissan argued that it needed to continue operations to fulfil orders both for the domestic and export markets.

The next hearing is held today (24th May) when the State government, also party to the case, is expected to file its response.

Renault-Nissan cannot cease operations or it will have to face losses

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