No big labour crunch at auto, consumer goods companies in second wave

No big labour crunch at auto, consumer goods companies in second wave


Large consumer goods and auto manufacturers said the second Covid wave has not impacted the availability of migrant workers as much as last year, with most returning as lockdowns were lifted in their native districts, helping companies scale up faster this time around.

Now that markets are opening up and pent-up demand is buoyant in some categories, the availability of casual workers will help them expand production capacities, the companies said. Most restarted or raised output earlier this month after voluntarily closing or cutting production for over a fortnight due to lack of demand and fewer workers. Last year’s nationwide lockdown had forced migrant workers to go back home, many on foot, after losing their livelihoods. That led to a shortage of workers as the curbs were lifted.

Auto Production at 60-80% of Capacity

Carmakers have scaled up production from 30-40% of capacity at the beginning of June to 60-80%, executives said. The sector had seen some shortage of workers at the peak of the second wave due to people falling ill and lockdown restrictions.

The country’s top three car makers, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors, are likely to produce more than 200,000 cars all told in June, almost 80-90% of peak output, said people aware of the matter.


Smartphone and electronics companies had restarted production in early June with 20-30% capacity and plan to scale it up to 50-60% in next one-two weeks with more markets opening up and states extending store opening times.

Panasonic India CEO Manish Sharma said this year’s reverse migration had been at a lower scale than last year and people who went back had come back faster this time. “Companies are assisting their direct and indirect workforce for vaccination, which too is building confidence,” he said.

While output during the second wave did get hit due to workers and their families falling ill, orders have strengthened for the coming weeks as curbs are being lifted, said Deepak Jain, chairman and managing director of

and president of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association. He also said the labour shortage wasn’t as bad as in the first wave, although it faces other challenges.

“The output is being scaled up actively. The headwinds for the industry remain… shortage in materials like semiconductors, escalating raw material and logistics prices,” said Jain.


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