Bajaj Auto unions demand factory halt after 250 workers test positive for Covid

Workers at Bajaj Auto, India’s largest exporter of motorbikes, are demanding a temporary closure of one of its plants after testing positive for coronavirus.

To prevent the spread of the virus in India went into full lockdown at the end of March, but it has recently relaxed restrictions despite an increase in the number of cases, putting some companies in a difficult position as they shift production Let’s try to revive.

The affected Bajaj Auto Factory is located in Western Maharashtra, which causes the virus in most cases of COVID-19. The company said in a letter to employees this week that those who do not show up for work will not be paid. “People are afraid to come to work. Some people are still coming but some are taking leave, ”said Thengade Bajirao, president of Bajaj Auto Workers Union.

The company said on 26 June that 140 out of about 8,000 employees at the factory had caught the virus and two died. It said the work would not stop, however, as the company wanted to learn to “live with the virus”.

An officer in Aurangabad district, overseeing the Valuj area where the plant is located, said the number of cases had now crossed 250. Bajaj Auto did not respond to Reuters requests.

On Saturday, India recorded a record number of more than 22,000 daily cases of infection, taking the nationwide total to more than 640,000.

Bajirao of Bajaj Union said, “We requested the company to temporarily shut down the plant for 10-15 days to break the cycle but they said that it makes no sense because people would gather for social events Will stay. ”

He said that for every employee who tests positive, those who work close to them must influence productivity.

With an annual production capacity of over 3.3 million motorbikes and other vehicles, the Vulj plant accounts for more than 50% of Bajaj’s manufacturing volume in India.

In a letter to employees, Bajaj said, “If an employee is absent in an office or plant for any reason despite being asked by the company, his salary will be deducted 100%.”

In May, Chinese smartphone maker Oppo postponed operations at a plant near New Delhi after testing positive from some workers.

Activists and union leaders say Bajaj has taken steps to ensure social distances to the factory floor and its cafeteria, besides providing separate seating arrangements in its buses and providing masks and sanitizers for employees. But they say it is not enough.

“On the assembly line, many people touch the same engine. We wore gloves, but still caught the virus. One worker said he was in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.

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