Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

‘Set uniform Covid rules for carmakers’

- Reuters

The Madras high court asked industrial safety officials on Tuesday with visiting carmakers in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to draw up uniform safety guidelines for workers during a second devastatin­g wave of Covid-19 infections amid the pandemic.

Workers at the Indian unit of Renault-nissan had asked the Madras HC for operations to be halted, saying social distancing norms were being flouted and the risk to their lives outweighed the health benefits provided by the company.

“Senior representa­tives from the department of industrial safety may be requested to make further visits to the Nissan-renault manufactur­ing facility and...other auto manufactur­ing units...so that a unified set of guidelines may be imposed,” the court said.

In a court filing on Monday reviewed by Reuters, the firm said it wanted the state government to recommend adequate social distancing measures, based on practices at other automakers, amid the dispute with its workers union over safety.

The company added that while it was following practices at automakers such as Maruti, Hyundai, Kia, Ford and BMW, it was “impossible” to increase the space between workers beyond two feet to three feet (0.6 to 0.9 m) at some work stations.

The workers’ union would file a counter petition, said M Moorthy, its general secretary.

“Other manufactur­ers need to adopt the best practices we are pushing for, not the other way around,” he told Reuters.

“We feel unsafe, and that is why we are against what the company is doing.”

The plant resumed operations last week after a strike by workers who said they felt unsafe because of a rising number of virus infections at the factory.

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