The Madras High Court on Monday requested a senior government official to visit the Sriperumbudur factory of Renault-Nissan in Tamil Nadu on June 1 to ascertain if Covid-19 norms are being followed at their vehicle manufacturing facility.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed the order in response to petitioners in the case-workers of Renault. They had approached the court against the employer availing an exemption from the state government from the ongoing lockdown without complying with Covid-19 protocols, particularly social distancing.
According to the workmen, the distancing norms cannot be maintained in the production procedure adopted by this employer, particularly in the assembly line, the court said in its orders on Monday.
The workers did not turn up to work on Monday in protest. The employer, however, maintained that all precautionary steps are followed and was open to any surprise inspection.
The court requested state advocate general R Shunmugasundaram to arrange for a senior official from the Directorate of Industrial Safety to visit the Sriperumbudur factory of Renault-Nissan by 10 am on June 1.
“It is hoped that after the day off today, the workmen will resume their duties tomorrow, so that the inspection may be made and representatives of the workmen may interact with the concerned government official, along with the representatives of the management, to check the relevant parameters and arrive at some form of a solution,” the court said in its order. The official could also mediate between the management and the workers if required, the court said.
The workers have suggested that social distancing norms can be followed between two cars in an assembly line by allowing three or four workmen to work on the vehicle at a time, instead of six or eight. They also suggested that a study that the management is undertaking to ensure that distancing norms are maintained at all times, should be completed expeditiously and corrective measures must be adopted, the court said.
The court adjourned the case to June 4 hoping to hear an amicable solution and directed the employer to submit the number of workmen infected by Covid-19, how many are in the hospital and the ones getting treated at home.