Nissan is open to retrospective payment to the team at Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd (RNAIPL). The company is committed to offering a competitive package to its employees and has been in healthy discussion with the union to achieve this, including asking for fair and transparent ‘third party’ arbitration, it said in a statement.
This follows an interim order by an arbitrator asking the company to pay additional wages to its employees.
On Monday, the Arbitrator — Justice P Jyothimani (former judge of the Madras High Court) — directed Renault Nissan Automotive India (respondent/management) to pay its workers additional wages.
Workers at Renault Nissan said they would rather wait for the final outcome than comment on the interim order. The matter is still in front of the Judge, and it is not appropriate to comment, said a union member.
Renault-Nissan said, “As a people-first organisation, Nissan’s priority is the health and safety of our teams and on listening and discussing cooperatively with our staff and their representatives.”
What the order said
The interim order, issued on August 16, said that each of the 3,542 workmen/members of the Renault Nissan India Thozhillalar Sangam (Union) will be paid ₹10,000 for the period between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, and ₹5,000 for the period between April 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021.
The arrears, as per the above direction, shall be paid by the company in three monthly equal instalments commencing from September 1, the order said.
Wage agreement row
The workers and the auto major have been involved in a battle after the previous wage agreement expired in March 2019. While the union claimed that wages paid to workers was less than half of what peers in other companies like Hyundai and Ford get, the company said it was not viable to pay the amount, sought by the union, in the long run, said sources.
While the management’s offer was ₹4,500 per month, the workers sought ₹20,000 as an interim measure. Hyundai pays technicians doing the same work an average gross salary of ₹80,000 plus per month while at Nissan, it was ₹33,000-54,000, the union claimed, and sought wage revision to ₹50,000 per month.
However, the management said that the plant started manufacturing cars from July 2010 with an initial investment of ₹4,500 crore, which has been increased to ₹6,098 crore. There are 3,542 workmen and 1,504 staff. The other car manufacturers like Hyundai and Ford have already established in the business. Nissan, being a later entrant, is facing stiff competition.
Further, the market share of Renault & Nissan cars is only 3-4 per cent and the market share of cars manufactured by the company, which was 5.4 per cent in 2016, has reduced to 3.6 per cent. The company claimed that the average wage of technicians was ₹43,709 per month
The company also said that₹20,000 demanded by the union cannot be granted.