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Bajaj Auto, other industrial units face uncertainty as Aurangabad plans new lockdown

Aurangabad-based companies have urged the Maharashtra government not to shut down industries. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj warned that the company will have to cut wages by 50% if the government imposes another lockdown

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 7, 2020 | Updated 14:30 IST
Bajaj Auto, other industrial units face uncertainty as Aurangabad plans new lockdown
With an annual production capacity of over 3.3 million motorbikes and other vehicles, the Waluj plant in Aurangabad accounts for over 50% of Bajaj's manufacturing volume in India

The fate of 2,100 industrial establishments, including Bajaj Auto, hangs in the balance as the Aurangabad district and municipal administration has decided to impose a lockdown from July 8 to July 18 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

The Maharashtra government is likely to make an announcement regarding the same on Tuesday, stating clearly what would be permitted during the lockdown period, according to a report in the Financial Express.

The Aurangabad administration has taken the decision to impose a strict lockdown amid mounting coronavirus cases, insufficient hospital beds, and the risk of running low on capacity in the next two-three days.

Meanwhile, Aurangabad-based companies have urged the Maharashtra government not to shut down industries. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj warned that the company will have to cut wages by 50% if the government imposes another lockdown.

Also read: Coronavirus: 'No work, no pay' inevitable if lockdown extends, says Rajiv Bajaj

Bajaj Auto has three plants in India -- one each at Waluj in Aurangabad, and Chakan in Pune (Maharashtra) and one at Pant Nagar in Uttarakhand.

As things currently stand, all industrial facilities have been included in the lockdown, Bajaj Auto Executive Director (ED) Rakesh Sharma told the daily.

The automaker's motorcycle and three-wheeler exports could be affected as production at its Waluj plant will get disrupted with the second phase of lockdown.

With an annual production capacity of over 3.3 million motorbikes and other vehicles, the Waluj plant accounts for over 50% of Bajaj's manufacturing volume in India.

Meanwhile, 250 employees of Bajaj Auto have been tested positive for coronavirus. The workers at the company are demanding temporary closure of its industrial facilities.

Also read: Bajaj Auto unions demand shutdown after 250 workers contract COVID-19

The automaker said in a letter to employees recently that those who do not show up for work will not be paid. "If an employee remains absent at office or plant due to any reason despite being asked by the company... then his/her salary would be deducted 100% during the period," Bajaj said in the letter to employees.
"People are scared to come to work. Some are still coming but some are taking leave," said Tangade Bajirao, president of the Bajaj Auto Workers' Union.
He highlighted that the union had requested the company "to temporarily close the plant for 10-15 days to break the cycle but they said there is no point as people will continue to gather for social events outside of work."

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