Report of a representative of International Automotive Workers Coordination from India on current situation and development amid Covid-19 pandemic

Dear comrades. We all are known that COVID-19 pandemic is spread in all over the world. Every person is under the pressure of health care and pandemic threat. As WHO announced that covid 19 is a uncontrollable pandemic and there is no any on vaccine or medicine is available now; so personal care and social distance with mask is a way to avoid the infraction of this pandemic. When covid-19 is starting to spread in India; the central government and state government announced countrywide lockdown from 23 March 2020. Due to which all the general movement and treading is stopped as it is. All the big industries and small scale industries also locked down in India.
Every working class peoples are affected due to these pandemic not only workers but farmers small scale businessman, traders hotels, tourism and much more. Auto sector already facing problems from last two years and again affected by covid-19. Due to lockdown central government release a notification on date 29 March 2020 stating that employer does not to cut any wage, leave or job or any other cutting during the lockdown. Some industries are filling compliant against that notification and stated that we are unable to pay for the lockdown day because we have no business and that’s why industries is suffering huge losses. Men while some multinational companies are made all the payment to all workers but many other companies’ deducted wages leave and also job cut due to the impact of covid-19. In auto industries company demands 10 days or 50% leave per month for paying the payment of lockdown days. Central government again release a notification stating that notification/order released on date 29 March 2020 is sealed and from 17 May 2020 there is no any provision for paying the wages. Supreme Court also gave a temporary relief to employer by order not to take any legal action against the employer who not pays the wages during the lockdown. Impact of these entire orders and notifications all the industries are given proposal for recovery of payment paid during the lockdown days or donation/deduction of leaves for that period. So number of permanent and temporary workers not gets full wages for the lockdown days.
Other important thing is industrial relations are hampered after releasing the lockdown. Various companies are resume their work after lockdown. There are following main issues developed after lockdown:
1) Leaves required for the worker who found Covid +ve ( as per Gov. guidelines minimum 10 days isolation and minimum 14 days quarantine after discharge from isolation center.
2) leave required if family member found Covid +ve then needs to minimum 14 days quarantine.
3) Leave required if Gov. or local authority announced containment/restricted zone and restricted to movement from home. so unable to attend duty.
4) Hospital expanses if worker infected in company due to contact with other workers.
All these issues are treated as opportunity to cut wages or leave, by the management and not taken any responsibility and asking for apply leave on these days or company may consider absent and wage will be cut for these days. This is for unionized workers. Non-unionized workers like trainee and contract workers are lost their jobs.Other point is due to production urgency many companies started work with new trainee and other workers. That’s why covid +ve cases are increased in various companies like Bajaj Auto, Volkswagen, Bosch, Bharat forge, Maruti-Suzuki,Toyota, Hyundai , Daimler, Mercedes-Benz & Tata motors due to covid-19 some death cases also happened in Bajaj, Bosch FBML/Hitachi and many other companies. That’s why workers are threatened. Some companies like Tata motors, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz are prepared their own isolation/ quarantine center but many other Company management not takes responsibility and says company takes proper precautions and safety measures as per government guideline. But this is not done properly and workers and workers and union are unable to fight day to day for all such issues. Medical expenses also very high and no sufficient savings and provision for that at workers end.
During all these situation all the trade unions are in continues are in the follow up with government authorities and company managements to minimize all these issues. Some issues are released by understanding but some management does not gives positive response. That’s why our federation Shramik Ekta Mahasangh, TUCI, CITU are preparing to fill legal complaint against these companies who are misuse this critical situation and against government notification by which ambiguity is created. And for clarity of the responsibility under Disaster management act 2005.
Thank you.
A representative of International Automotive Workers Coordination and „Shramik Ekta Mahasangh“ (SEM)-India. 28 July 2020.

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