Due to unrest among worker over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the area, Ford India has decided to suspend operations at its Maraimalai Nagar plant, near Chennai, on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Reportedly, some employees at the plant demanded suspension of production by boycotting the lunch served to them, citing the high prevalence of COVID-19. Sources in the company’s workers’ union have told PTI that “given the pandemic, the workers fear for their lives. Besides, the state government has also declared a total lockdown”. The workers want the company to declare a holiday till the ongoing lockdown ends. The Tamil Nadu government has announced a lockdown till May 31 for now, however, if the government extends it, then the workers also want the management to extend the holiday. So far, the company has been operating the Tamil Nadu production facility on a single shift, with nearly 1,500 to 1,700 employees working on a single day.
Replying to our query, a Ford India spokesperson said, “The safety of our workforce remains our topmost priority. For our operations, we are following strict safety & health guidelines issued by the Government of Tamil Nadu and Global health authorities. We have also taken regular feedback from employees to keep the workplace safe and kept operations at our Chennai plant suspended from May 14 till May 22. The operations resumed on May 24 earlier this week. We also remain engaged in a dialogue with the Union on additional aspects related to health & safety and keeping in view their feedback, have decided to keep the operations suspended on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29.”
Ford India is not the only carmaker, in Tamil Nadu, whose workers are demanding suspension of operations sighting the rising number of coronavirus cases. Recently Hyundai India and Renault Nissan Automotive India too faced similar problems and had to give in to the workers’ demand, suspending operations till May 29, and May 30, respectively.