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Lockdown in Aurangabad: Bajaj Auto sets rider for staff to qualify for 50% of wages

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on July 07, 2020 Published on July 07, 2020

A file photo Bajaj Auto workers at the Waluj plant   -  Source: Bajaj Auto website

Says Waluj plant workers must be present 2 days before and a day after the lockdown

As Aurangabad gets ready to impose a complete lockdown from July 10, Bajaj Auto has issued a fresh set of conditions for employees to qualify for the 50 per cent wage payment during the period.

Workers at the Waluj plant will need to be present on July 8 and 9 as well as on the first working day post-lockdown to be eligible for this payment. Simply put, it means that if they do not turn up on any of these three dates, they stand to lose the entire 50 per cent payment.

For now, indications are that the lockdown will be lifted on July 18, which means Bajaj Auto employees must be present at Waluj on the following day to ensure that they are paid for the nine-day closure period. Skipping either July 8, 9 or 20 (assuming that the lockdown is over on July 18) will result in zero wages.

However, Bajaj Auto has exempted certain categories of workers from this directive. The company has clarified that the date stipulations will not apply to ‘Covid positive cases who are either taking treatment in hospital or in home quarantine as per the rule’.

Likewise, this stipulation will not be applicable to primary contact employees whose quarantine period is not over, and have ‘been asked for quarantine for prescribed period by the company’. Finally, those employees called for emergency work/Covid-related activities will not fall under these new wage directives.

Also read: Covid-19: As infection spreads, Bajaj Auto’s union wants temporary shutdown of Waluj unit

At one level, says an industry executive, this clearly is tough talk coming from the Bajaj Auto management. According to him, this is not entirely misplaced either since production at an automotive facility needs to be “as even as possible” through the month.

“Customers cannot be told to come to showrooms only on some days nor can ships carry double the containers,” he added.

Lockdown lacks logic?

Sources say that the Aurangabad worker union also believes that it makes little sense to call for a plant lockdown given that Covid-19 infections have been rising across the city in recent weeks reflecting the overall trend in India. The US, UK and Brazil are also seeing a surge in cases with virologists cautioning that a second Covid-19 wave could bring in more bad news globally.

In India, the Centre has chosen to unlock the economy in phases and this is happening during the peak of the Covid-19 curve. Automakers like Bajaj Auto, which is seeing infection numbers rise at its Waluj plant, and many others will now need to walk the tightrope balancing the reality of Covid-19 and churning out two-wheelers, cars and trucks.

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Published on July 07, 2020
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