Coronavirus impact on businesses has started to begun as country's largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp on Sunday said it has suspended production at all its sites across the globe until March 31, 2020 in order to safeguard its employees against COVID-19. Not just Hero MotoCorp, automaker Fiat has also suspended manufacturing operations in the country till the end of this month to check the spread of the contagious disease. India overall confirmed cases toll has surged to 324 on Sunday after a steep rise in the cases in the past two days.
Issuing a statement, Hero MotoCorp said, "With the safety and wellbeing of its employees as top priority in view of the escalating COVID-19 situation, the company has decided to halt operations at all its global manufacturing facilities – including in India, Colombia and Bangladesh - and the Global Parts Centre (GPC) at Neemrana with immediate effect until March 31, 2020."
Employees at all the other functions and locations including the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) at Jaipur in Rajasthan will continue to work from home, except for those whose physical presence is necessary to run the day-to-day essential services, it added.
Similarly, automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) together with Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited (FIAPL), FCA's joint venture manufacturing facility in Ranjangaon, said that it will suspend manufacturing till March 31, 2020 to protect the health and safety of employees.
"The temporary suspension is in response to the increasing prevalence of positive COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and particularly in Pune," the company said.
The two-wheeler major said it has been proactively monitoring the situation since the early stages of the breakout of COVID-19, and had rolled-out a slew of measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees and also, thereby to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Hero MotoCorp Chairman Pawan Munjal, through two digital town hall meetings held in quick succession last week, has already conveyed the organisation's commitment to stand by the employees despite the severe disruptions caused by the ongoing situation, it added.
The task force set-up by the Chairman Munjal is constantly monitoring the developments through regular video conferencing and tele-meetings to ensure that safety and business-continuity plans are up-to-date and effective, it said.
Similarly, FIAPL said it had already implemented increased sanitary processes coupled with improvements to protect employee safety, including thermal screening and extra buses for the work commute ensuring minimal social distancing.
"During this closure period, the Ranjangaon plant will also undertake intensified cleaning and santisation, including total fumigation to ensure a safe return for employees," the company said.
FIAPL will continue to be staffed with a small number of employees, who are engaged in emergency services, it added.
"There will be no retrenchment of any plant employees as a result of the plant closure and all will continue to receive their salaries during this closure period, the company noted.
(With inputs from PTI)