Employees of Bajaj Auto’s Waluj plant in Aurangabad will see their salaries being cut by half during a nine-day lockdown starting later this week, according to people in the know. The local authorities have decided to lock down the city and the industrial area during July 10-18. The unit, which employs close to 8,000 including contract and permanent employees, accounts for half the company’s total production in India. It makes three-wheelers and select brands of motorcycles for the domestic and export markets.
“It (lockdown) will make no difference to the virus… neither to the companies as it can easily make up the lost production in the balance days of July and worst case by early August. Unfortunately, all employees will lose 50 per cent of their wages,” said a source. The company refused to comment.
Bajaj Auto’s Waluj plant, which is among the largest employers in the region, has seen a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. Close to 250 have already been infected with five dying of Covid-19. “It’s a bitter pill but it will have to be swallowed,” said Uday Choudhary, collector, Aurangabad district.
The decision regarding the nine-day lockdown, which is applicable to the city and Waluj industrial area, was taken on Monday.
The district known for housing several auto and pharma units has been reporting a large number of an average of 250 cases daily. “The decision was taken in consensus with industrial units, small and medium enterprises, business chambers such as Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and other stakeholders. There was resistance but everyone agreed. The deliberations were on for a fortnight,” Choudhary said. The administration, he said, is aware of the fact that lockdown is not a solution and it cannot contain the virus. But to shore up the health infrastructure and limit the sudden surge in cases, a hard lockdown was critical, according to Choudhary.
Thengade Bajirao, president, workers' union at the company’s Waluj plant, confirmed the cut in wages. “Almost eight days ago, the management had put up a notice saying if there’s a lockdown and the plant is shuttered, wages will be cut,” he said.