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SHOE-ING COVID AWAY

India’s largest footwear brand is hiring a Covid specialist

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Delhi
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Safety boots on.
  • Ananya Bhattacharya
By Ananya Bhattacharya

Tech reporter

Published

Relaxo Footwear wants to put its best foot forward when it comes to fighting Covid this festive season.

India’s largest footwear brand, incorporated in 1984, has been hiring for unique roles dedicated to handling the pandemic. For instance, in June 2021, on the heels of India’s devastating second wave, the company posted a job ad for “assistant general manager—safety.”

While the specific assistant manager position appears unique to Relaxo, designating staff to Covid safety is not. Like the shoe manufacturer, others in India Inc—especially those running massive factories—are making similar efforts.

How is Relaxo fighting Covid-19?

The listing “suggests that the incumbent is expected to handle any emergency health situation and offer every possible help such as arrangement of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines, and ambulance facility,” according to Ajay Thalluri, business fundamentals analyst at analytics firm GlobalData.

The New Delhi-based company has also set up a “primary Covid combat task force” focused on protecting the health and safety of employees, a Sept. 14 press release from GlobalData says. It’s a mammoth undertaking given than the company has more than 7,800 staff and last year, it produced nearly 180 million shoes

More covid task forces in India Inc

The Mahindra Group set up a Rapid Action Force in March 2020 to enforce social distancing by cordoning off zones in the workplace, staggering shift timings, redesigning canteens to eliminate face-to-face seating, and staggering canteen usage.

Shop floors for electric power transmission tower manufacturer KEC International, energy conglomerate NTPC, and Dalmia Cement have similar “Covid marshals” in charge of safety measures.

GlobalData expects more companies to follow suit as demand picks up across the economy. “Going by the trend,” Thalluri says, “a hiring surge could be anticipated this festive season with companies taking additional emphasis on Covid-19 related precautions to safeguard the health of their workforce.”

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