In light of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, Hyundai Motor India is suspending its third or C-Shift for three weeks at its Sriperumbudur plant in Tamil Nadu, as per an internal communication sent to the employees. Hyundai have announced that the third shift will remain suspended between June 1 to June 19, with the C-Shift likely to resume normal operations from June 21.
Incidentally, Hyundai had to completely suspend operations at the Sriperumbudur plant for five days earlier last week as well. This came after a section of the workers walked out of the plant and protested last Monday, seeking closure of the plant amid the intense lockdown in Tamil Nadu and concerns over the spread of Covid-19. Hyundai's plant operations in Sriperumbudur thus remain shut from May 25 to May 29, before resuming operation on Sunday, May 30 onwards.
Speaking to TOI, a Hyundai Motor India spokesperson said,
“Adhering to the strict safety guidelines and compliance of the state government, we have resumed our plant operations in two shifts from May 31, 2021. We are closely monitoring the pandemic situation in the state and supporting the communities for an early recovery. We remain committed to undertaking initiatives to support our employees as their safety is our utmost priority.”
Although the Tamil Nadu Government has imposed a full lockdown until May 31, 2021, across the state, it has allowed some factories, including automobiles, to continue operations. However, several major automakers - including the likes of Ford, Renault-Nissan and even Royal Enfield - in the Oragadam-Sriperumbudur belt had to suspend operations due to the pandemic situation. The workers union at the Renault-Nissan Oragadam plant even moved the court with regard to Covid-19 safety protocols being ignored at the factory.
This brings to light the challenges automakers are facing to keep operations going amid the heightened scare of the pandemic, with employees fearing for their health and safety. The lockdowns have affected all aspects of the automobile sector, including manufacturing, wholesales, retail and even auto registration. From a customer point of view, this will have an inevitable effect on the deliveries of new vehicles, with waiting periods only set to increase from here.