Dozens of workers at the Tamil Nadu plant of Ford Motor Company staged a sit-in protest on Thursday during lunch hours, demanding paid leave and health benefits amidst the Covid-19 pandemic that is rampaging the country, reports Reuters.
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The incident is the latest among a series of such protests among the Indian auto industry workers that took place in the last one or two weeks. Despite the Thursday protest, the production at the Ford plant was not affected, says the news agency.
The protest by the workers comes a day after the Chennai Ford Employees Union expressed its concerns over the workers’ safety. The union on Wednesday had sent a letter to the factory management after 230 workers in the facility had been detected positive with the Covid-19 virus.
The union letter reportedly said Ford should pay all the medical expenses of workers who have been affected by the Coronavirus. The union also called for the plant to be shut during a full lockdown in Tamil Nadu that runs until Monday. Also, the workers’ union has sought ₹1 crore compensation for families of each of the two workers who died due to Covid-19.
Tamil Nadu is considered as the Detroit of the Indian automobile industry as it is the home of several auto manufacturers who have manufacturing plants in the state. Among other carmakers, Hyundai, Renault and Nissan too have halted production at their facilities as the infections have been growing.
(Also Read: Renault, Nissan halt production at TN plant after workers protest: Report)
Ford is currently in talks with the workers’ union and is considering a plan to bring forward a six-day annual maintenance shutdown. However, a final decision is yet to be taken. The automaker has two car manufacturing plants in India, one in Tamil Nadu and another one in Gujarat.