With 95 percent of the hydraulic cylinders produced supplied to earthmovers and the balance to tractors, the unit cannot be termed as essential services and continuous process industry, said P.Thambu Raj, Secretary, United Labour Federation (ULF) at Wipro Enterprises P Ltd hydraulics’ plant near here.
The ULF has demanded the closure of the hydraulics plant so that the Covid-19 spread could be broken.
The Union has also approached the Madras High Court against the Tamil Nadu government’s order that allows certain units to function during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Our plant has about 950 workers (permanent about 87, temporary about 500, contract workers about 200 and management staff about 100). During April and May this year about 40 workers have been infected with coronavirus and one person has died,” Raj told IANS.
“Recently Covid-19 tests were conducted for 756 workers out of which results for 356 workers have come and 10 have tested positive,” Raj said.
According to him, no social distance is being maintained at the factory, and full worker strength has been deployed in shifts though the number of shifts has been reduced from three to two.
Raj said workers for the factory come from Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, and Chennai, where the Covid-19 infection rates are high.
According to him, the one deceased worker had put in 12 years of service and has old parents, but the company is silent on rendering financial assistance to them.
“During last year’s Covid-19 lockdown (between March 23rdA2020 and May 7th 2020) the factory was shut down. now the situation is far more serious requiring stricter lockdown,” Raj said.
Part of the Wipro Group, Wipro Enterprises has broadly two divisions — Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting and Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, under which the hydraulics manufacturing comes.
According to the company, it is one of the largest independent hydraulic cylinder manufacturers in the world, delivering over a million cylinders to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) of earthmovers, material and cargo handling machinery, forestry, farm, and agriculture equipment and in the fields of mining and truck tipping.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)