By Venkatachari JagannathanChennai, June 21 : The fight between Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Ltd and its worker’s union Renault Nissan (India) Thozilalar Sangam (RNITS) seems to have broadened on Monday with Hyundai Motor India Ltd requesting a copy of the government inspection report.
Appearing for Hyundai Motor, its counsel requested for the copy of the report made by the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health recommending uniform Covid-19 guidelines for automobile units in maintaining social distancing at the shopfloor level.
The court had on June 8 ordered the Directorate of Industrial Safety to visit the Renault Nissan Automotive’s factory and also other comparable passenger vehicle makers located near here to arrive at a uniform Covid-19 safety guideline.
On June 8, the counsel for Renault Nissan told the court the company is being singled out as none of the other automotive units — Hyundai Motor, Ford India, BMW, Daimler and others — located near here or in the country like Maruti are maintaining the 3:1 empty pitch.
This resulted in the court ordering the visit of a senior official of the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health to the automobile plants to come out with a uniform guideline for maintenance of social distance in factories.
According to K.Balaji Krishnan, RNITS President, 3:1 empty pitch means after three cars in the conveyor belt, one slot will be empty so that a worker need not move to the next workstation to complete his work.
Accordingly, the state government officials had inspected the car plants of Renault Nissan Automotive India, Ford India, Hyundai Motor India last week and recommended:
Reducing the conveyor speed, relocation of jobs to different stations/sub-assembly areas shall be implemented;
Create new work stations to reduce the number of jobs per station;
Reduce the number of jobs per station by diverting some jobs to sub-assembly areas and pre-assembled modules may be introduced in the assembly lines;
Covert work station with more than two workers into two worker works stations by reallocation of jobs;
Location and sequence of jobs in work stations shall be adjusted to maintain social distancing;
Provide face shields to workers;
Overlapping of workers due to job carryover to be avoided by providing extra allowance by stopover of the conveyor and necessary set up should be made for conveyor to be stopped;
Vaccination of all the workers on the assembly line.
The counsel for Renault Nissan Automotive told the court that the company accepts all the recommendations and the necessary changes at the shopfloor level will be made by July 1.
Agreeing with the submission, the court said on July 2, an inspection by the Directorate of Industrial Safety will be made.
Renault Nissan Automotive wanted the revocation of the order on the maintenance of 3:1 empty pitch at the conveyor line since the inspection report also stated that it does not serve the social distancing purpose.
The company counsel also said reallocation of jobs is being done.
Since the inspection report has recommended uniform guidelines for automotive units, Hyundai Motor counsel wanted to take a look at the report and asked for a copy.
Whether Hyundai Motor will implead itself in the case or not will be known later but the issue seems to have broadened from one car manufacturer to two car makers.
According to the inspection report, Hyundai Motor has a total manpower of pre-lock down 12,291, post lockdown 10,532.The company rolled out 2,535 cars per day prior to the lockdown and post lockdown it was 1,816 cars per day.
The total length of Hyundai Motor’s two conveyors and its speed are: I-960 metres, 4.8 metre/minute II-1,891.5 metres, 5.94 metre per minute.
While there was no speed change in the conveyor line pre and post lockdown the number of work stations has been increased in assembly line I at Hyundai Motor.
Similarly, Ford India has two conveyors – I-918 metres (assembling Ecosport), II-75 metres (assembling Endeavour model).
During the lockdown, the conveyor I speed was reduced to 2.9 metre/minute from 3.4 metre/minute while the second line was manually operated.
In both the lines, the number of workstations were reduced while the number of workers in line I went down, in line II it went up, post lockdown.
In the case of Renault Nissan Automotive the total manpower before and after lockdown was 8,534 (production 934 cars per day) and 8,432 (production 540 cars per day).
The company’s plant has two conveyor lines – I-664.5 metre, II-732.5 metre.
There was no change in the conveyor speed before and after lockdown.The speed of line I was 2.49 metre/minute and 3.6 metre/minute.
There was no change in the number of workstations in both the lines.
According to the inspection report, the non-availability of sufficient time in some work stations leads to carryover of the unfinished job to the next and causes overlapping.
The report said a proper work study has to be made and depending on the time and motion studies, the relevant jobs may be relocated to other workstations or more time be given to avoid overlapping.
The length of the assembly line and the speed of the conveyor are important factors, the report added.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected]