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Renault Nissan Auto breached agreement with union: Madras HC

Renault Nissan Auto Breached Agreement With Union Madras Hc Main
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Chennai: Frowning upon car maker Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Ltd for breaching the agreement signed with its workers’ union, the Madras High Court on Friday categorically said the agreement has to be implemented in full.

Renault Nissan Automotive is a Franco-Japanese car-making joint venture near here rolling out Renault and Nissan badged vehicles.

As a measure of maintaining social distancing at the shop floor level, the company and the worker’s union Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangam (RNITS) had signed an agreement early this month.

Subsequently, the RNITS had approached the Madras High Court citing non-adherence to the Covid-19 safety protocol while operating the plant.

The two parties had agreed for the empty pitch ratio of 3:1 in the trim and chassis and body shop.

“Simply put, after three cars in the conveyor belt, one slot will be empty so that a worker need not move to the next workstation to complete his work,” RNITS President K. Balaji Krishnan had told IANS.

However, the management did not implement the 3:1 empty pitch ratio in the production line 1 where models like Sunny, Kicks and Duster are assembled, and the RNITS had brought the breach to the notice of the court.

The court said the management is in breach of the agreement forged with the workmen and it cannot accept that the empty pitch ratio to be maintained only in one of the two lines.

The agreement between the management and union was categorical that 3:1 empty pitch ratio would be maintained at the production line.

Later, as counsel for the company submitted that it would maintain the 3:1 empty pitch ratio in line 1 also, the court said both the parties can discuss that aspect later.

Pointing out the high incidence of Covid-19 infection rate amongst the workers, the court also categorically said the conditions of the exemption from the lockdown have to be followed.

It also recorded that over 1,200 workers out of about 8,000 workers have been affected by Covid-19 out of which about 50 workers are under active case category, 10 workers admitted to hospital and others are home quarantined and recovering.

Renault Nissan Automotive had earlier told the court that it has to roll out 34,964 cars (Renault cars 10,982, Nissan cars 23,982) between May-October 2021 for export markets.

The company also told the court that any delay in fulfilling the export orders, which are required to be sent, among others to fleet based markets in the Gulf, will not only entail penalty but in addition, mean losing the business.

Further car exports need advance planning to load the ships so that demurrage and other port charges are not incurred, the company had said.

The company’s exports revenue stood at about Rs 4,615 crore in 2018-19, about Rs 5,500 crore in 2019-20 and about Rs 3,159 crore in 2020-21.

Meanwhile, the court was also told that the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health has issued a show cause notice to Renault Nissan Automotive for contraventions noticed under the Factories Act and other labour laws.

Later, a spokesperson from Nissan – the company’s one of the joint venture partners – in a statement, said: “We have already implemented changes in one of the production lines, as per previous agreements regarding employee safety with the union, and will be cascading them across a second production line at the earliest, while also acting on the recommendations of the state government following recent inspections.”

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

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