For the first time in the Tamil Nadu management-labour dispute over wage revision, bonus payment, reinstatement of dismissed workers is sought to be settled by arbitration.

This is being tried out at Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Ltd, the car production joint venture between French company Renault and Japan’s Nissan Motor Company, said a senior advocate.

The arbitrator will be retired Madras High Court Judge P. Jyothimani.

Queried about the reason for opting arbitration V.Prakash, senior advocate for Renault Nissan India Thozhilalar Sangam (RNITS) told IANS: “The various pending issues between the union and the management were at the conciliation. At that time the company filed a Writ petition in the Madras High Court to prevent the union from going on strike stating that automobile manufacturing is a Public Utility Service.”

During the course of the case in the High Court the two parties agreed to go for arbitration and the arbitrator was also agreed upon, he said.

“The Tamil Nadu government has to notify the arbitration agreement so that the arbitration proceedings can begin,” Prakash said.

Meanwhile the RNITS on Monday put the Renault Nissan Automotive’s management on notice saying that the workers will boycott duty from May 26 onwards.

RNITS’ Joint Secretary T.Tamizh Kumaran, in a letter to the management, said that unless their safety is ensured at the plant, workers will not come to work.

Citing the Madras High Court order which states steps to be taken to reduce the footfall in offices and factories, the union said that the company has not taken any steps to reduce the footfall in the company’s plant to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Five workers have died and about 850 have been infected with coronavirus at Renault Nissan Automotive since last year,” RNITS President K.Balaji Krishnan told IANS.

He also said in 2021 alone, about 420 employees have tested Covid-19 positive.

“All our workers are young and they are dying. There is no social distance maintained at the factory. We had suggested reducing the number of cars produced per hour. This in turn would reduce the number of workers per workstation. But the management didn’t agree,” Krishnan said.

There are about 8,550 workers/staff/apprentices/contract labour (about 3,547 technicians/workers, about 2,000 staff, about 2,000 contract workers and about 1,000 apprentices) employed at the Renault Nissan Automotive plant near here.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

–IANS

vj/in

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