Faced with an ‘unprecedented situation’ following the coronavirus outbreak, Tata Motors has directed its more than 40,000 employees to avoid public transport, steer clear of physical contact while putting a ban on meetings involving 20 or more people.
These are some of the dozen-odd measures adopted by the owner of Jaguar Land Rover aimed at containing the spread of the deadly virus. The maker of Nexon and Harrier did not specify if any of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been suspected to be a carrier of the virus.
Classroom training, meetings with more than 20 participants, internal and external events have been suspended. Distance between seats in canteens and visitors to Tata Motors (TML) sites have been restricted, and the few who come in are being screened, said a letter by the managing director Guenter Butschek to the employees. A further 43,000 are employed by Jaguar Land Rover.
“This is a significant change on how we work at TML, you will receive additional information that can help all of us adapt to the new way of working. I would like to assure you that we will be highly vigilant and initiate immediate additional measures for specific sites/locations across TML to minimize the risk to our employees and their families based on the situation,” added Butschek.
All day-to-day functions at the company such as manufacturing, supply chain, quality, product development, research, warehousing, sales, service, supplier quality among others will remain operational.
The company is exploring work from home for certain sections of the work, encouraged to the workforce mainly involving administrative duties.
Earlier this week Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM), the India subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, also placed strict advisory to minimize international and domestic travel to affected regions while suspending biometric attendance system as a preventive measure.
India’s auto sector is one of the largest employers with an estimated workforce of more than one million including that from multi-tier parts suppliers and dealers.
So far, India’s automotive industry has not reported any significant production-related disruption due to the outbreak. Hero Motocorp and TVS Motor Company said that their production of Bharat Stage VI (BS 6) models had dropped by 10 percent. The production of the all-electric scooter Chetak by Bajaj Auto was hit due to supply issues of parts from China especially battery cells.
In a statement released in the first week of March, Tata Motors said “For Tata Motors’ domestic business, the fourth-quarter performance was already planned to be significantly impacted due to the switchover from BS-IV to BS-VI and the shortage of parts is likely to have some additional impact on specific BS-VI models which is expected to be secured in the coming months”.