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Renault Nissan buckles to union pressure, suspends operations at Chennai plant

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"Therefore to ensure that we keep the focus on the safety of our employees and their families, and as a precaution, the plant will temporarily suspend operations from May 26 to May 30," says Biju Balendran.

Renault Nissan buckles to union pressure, suspends operations at Chennai plant
Two days after 2,547 factory workers at Renault Nissan's automobile plant in Oragadam decided to boycott work to protest inadequate COVID-19 protocols at the plant, the company has said it will suspend operations till Sunday.
The company announced the decision in a letter written by Renault Nissan India MD and CEO, Biju Balendran to employees, earlier today. "The COVID situation in and around Chennai is serious," said Balendran, "Therefore to ensure that we keep the focus on the safety of our employees and their families, and as a precaution, the plant will temporarily suspend operations from May 26 to May 30."
While Renault Nissan India has also said it will "monitor the situation" and inform employees on when the plant will restart operations, the company admitted that it was also reviewing its COVID-19 protocols.
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"We are currently reviewing our safety protocols and future safety measures, and continue to have a close and constructive dialogue with union representatives so that together we can ensure the highest standards of safety are in place for when the plant resumes operations," said Balendran in his letter.
News of discord between Renault Nissan India management and the Renault Nissan India Workers Union went public a few days ago when the labour union made public a letter it had written to the company listing its dissatisfaction with safety measures at the factory near Chennai.
Grievances aside, the union also accused the management of unilateral decision-making even in matters concerning workers’ safety. The management’s letter seems to indicate that it will look at dialogue with the union as part of the safety audit.
The workers union’s grievances included inadequate medical insurance, full-strength shifts despite the need for social distancing, and cramped canteens thanks to full-strength shifts and shorter lunch breaks. The union also alleged that the company was doing little to vaccinate staff below 45, while not compromising on factory lines and output.
The union said it would boycott work indefinitely until Renault Nissan India reviewed safety measures and promised to cut factory footfall by 50 percent, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Four factory employees at the plant have died this year, after contracting coronavirus. On Wednesday, none of the plant’s employees turned up to work.

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