coronavirus: Covid-19: Unions fail to convince Bajaj Auto to shut unit


MUMBAI: Employees testing positive for Covid-19 continued to rise at a Bajaj Auto facility in Maharashtra, even as the management and workers’ unions were unable to reach an agreement on whether the operations should be suspended to contain the spread of the infection. The unions demanded temporary closure of one of the company’s plants at Waluj in Aurangabad district, Reuters reported on Saturday.

A union leader, Thengade Bajirao, told ET that about 250 people had tested positive for Covid-19 at the plant and about 800 people were quarantined till the end of June. Six employees have succumbed to the disease, he said.

“The management has been hearing us out and have been extending all the possible support. We have been urging them to shut down the plant temporarily, but the management is of the opinion that even after a temporary shutdown, there is no guarantee that the cases will stop,” Bajirao said. “We agree with them. Even we don’t know what is the way out of this.”

The company has been extending medical and financial support to the infected employees, he said. The company declined to comment.

Aurangabad district collector Uday Chaudhari told ET that there was no evidence to show that the employees got the infection due to working at the facility.

“We have studied the cases of infections and as of now, there has been no evidence to show that those affected have got the infection while travelling in the company bus or a specific batch of workers got infected. Infections have happened too randomly…,” he told ET when asked about the demand to suspend operations of the factory. The collector, however, said the administration was keeping a“daily watch” on the issue.

At present, 1,700-1,800 employees work at Bajaj Auto’s Waluj factory where the company is operating at half the capacity in two shifts. It is likely to bring in more workers to ramp up capacity, which union leader Bajirao fears may lead to a spike in cases.

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