Workers, Politicians, Management, and Goons

With the expansion and spontaneity of digital media, the sad news of Lalit Kishore Chaudhry of Greater Noida reached all corner of the globe. It may appear amazing but that’s the change the world has undergone in the Friedman’s famous flattening process.

Rakesh knew it through and Rajesh through here in USA. All my sons who are now in profession have bitter memories and consequences of labour agitations at Hindustan Motors, West Bengal. While it shocked my sons, and me, I was also shocked with the reactions rather conclusions from individuals and institutions. While the remarks of Oscar Fernandez and Amar Singh pained me, the police as usual unnecessary came out with some irresponsible remark. The leaders in India Inc. may be right in denouncing the minister’s remark but must have some introspection. Over the years, the bigger units with good HR embedded in system have improved the labour relation. However, there are many smaller and medium size industrial enterprises with effective heads that hardly believe in learning and changing and have remained feudal and consider themselves masters instead of fathers or facilitators of the workforce at the bottom of the pyramid. The salaries and perks of the people that constitute the majority have been kept poor. Basic facilities are neglected. Training and education is considered unnecessary and drain on revenue.

On the same line, the leadership of the union goes very often in irresponsible hands. Either the goons can win the union election or many a times the management gets its preferred candidates in. With goons in union, both the parties loose and sometimes heavily in long run, while the second situation makes workers feel helpless. Let the managers no more consider workforce as foolish lot and use it as assets. Management and its executives must build a good system for grievance handling and be in constant dialogue with the workforce. Training for hard professional skills as well as soft skills of problem-solving, team-building, value improvement and lifestyle management must be a regular affair along with other tools and techniques to involve all the people at work in the company’s goals of all types. The prime task of the executives must not only be to please and satisfy the boss, it must equally relate to benefit the peers and those who work at the bottom of the organizational pyramids.

With politicians already exploiting the workforce in name of democratic right, India Inc must take the responsibility to manage its people more humanly and rationally. It must not come out with the traditional way of solving an odd situation such as slowdowns with cutting down of the compensation and remuneration that are still very poor in comparison with even many developing countries. It must not go for downsizing. It must honestly try to use them with innovations in useful activities and diversified businesses. It must cut cost in other places improve quality and innovate new products and services.

Further, the CII or FICII must work for training the executives and heads of the smaller and medium size companies in sound and well-proven management practices. It must take up with the government more forcefully the cases when inter-union rivalry or support from outside unions may be trying to wrest negotiations that can spoil the situation and result in violent outcomes. It must threaten and force the government and its machinery to work in time.

Management must not shirk this responsibility. Let me tell the India Inc emphatically something. They can’t any more run the company through in mean manner. They can’t exploit the prevailing poverty for long. They can’t resort to illogical hire and fire. They will have to bring up contract labour at par with regular employees or very near to that. They will have to take care of the aspirations of the workforce that constitutes quite a large percentage of somewhat educated youth of the country.

It is unfortunate that some of the MNCs coming in the country also follow the tricks of the local companies. Why can’t they set better examples?

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