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The Workers' Union at Bajaj Auto have called for a halt in operations and a temporary closure of the brand's facility after 250 employees have been tested positive for Covid-19.
The brand had released a statement on 26 June stating that 140 of its 8,000 odd employees had tested positive for the virus, and two had lost their lives. Bajaj Auto's Workers' Union had requested for a closure of the factory at that point as well.
Mr Thengade Bajirao, the President of the Bajaj Auto Workers' Union said that most employees are worried about coming to work, and that while some are coming, others have taken leave.
Mr Bajirao said, "We requested the company to temporarily close the plant for 10-15 days to break the cycle but they said there is no point as people will continue to gather for social events outside of work."
Reports are that Bajaj issued a statement to the Workers' Union saying that a temporary closure of the facility as the brand wants to learn to live with the virus, and that those who do not show up to work will not be paid.
Bajaj's statement said, "If an employee remains absent at office or plant due to any reason despite being asked by the company, then his/her salary would be deducted 100% during the period."
Employees who have been hospitilised say that multiple people touch the same engine while at the assembly line, and that wearing gloves hasn't helped contain the virus.
Bajaj's Waluj facility has an annual production capacity of 33 lakh motorcycles that account for 50 percent of the company's manufacturing volume in the country.
Thoughts About Bajaj Auto's Workers' Union Demanding For A Temporary Closure Of The Facility
This is a Catch-22 situation for Bajaj Auto and its Workers' Union. We understand that the Union would rather have employees work once that Covid-19 situation blows over, but what the brand says is right too. One has to learn to live with the virus.
The lockdown that was in effect for almost 90 days has helped contain the virus to some extent, but the world is at least two years away from business as usual. What makes things more difficult for Bajaj is that its Waluj facility is based out of Maharashtra, the current Covid capital of the country.