HE WHO RIDES A TIGER
In the Year of the Youth, the author took up a research project on young industrial workers. It involved comparing young and old workers. Two industries producing the same machines at similar technological level were selected. One belonged to the private sector and the other to the public sector. While the latter was started a decade later than the former, it had achieved greater expansion. Both were located in the same state.
After we obtained necessary permission to conduct our study, we reached the mofussil town where the private sector industry was located. Before we could launch our study, as a matter of principle, we wanted to meet the General ...view middle of the document...
There every office bearer was surprisingly a lawyer. In the HQ we learnt that after we left, their union took out a procession and held a meeting in the temple. Perhaps this was the result of our discussion. While the older union was a prisoner of its past, the new union was free to write its own history. Workers' interests were being served perhaps by both.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Discuss merits/demerits of the role of strike, agitation and legal approach in unionmanagement relations.
2. What role does mutual trust play in building union-management relations?
EMPLOYEE RELATIONS AUDIT
Triveni Foods Pvt. Ltd., a multinational confectionary company, having its branches in more than 50 countries and marketing its products in about 135 countries, established one of its production units in 1988 at Mathura near Delhi. It had a workforce of nearly 320 employees and sales turnover was more than Rs. 150 crores. Being a confectionary unit, hygiene was given the upper most priority to the extent that no one was allowed to enter the production area without taking bath and wearing sterilized clothes provided by the company. The entire process was automatic and required only food specialists and labor. In order to match the required standards, emphasis was given on training and welfare of employees on regular basis. Facilities like transportation were also provided since delay by ten minutes could cause production losses at the time of shift changes.
Over a period of time due to start and workers' redundancy, it was observed that problems like lethargy, absenteeism, violation of work practices were increasing. Absenteeism rate went up to 18 percent. Employees visited canteen for drinking water and started gossiping during working hours. Buses did not arrive on time due to which production suffered. Operators came late and left shop floor early without waiting for relievers. Employees were found hovering in administration building without any reason. It was also found that employees were violating personal hygiene standards. Malpractices were also reported with attendance process and records. These activities were having a negative impact on managerial effectiveness and performance of the unit. The management tried to take number of initiatives to overcome these problems. However, these initiatives seemed ad hoc solutions and did not serve the purpose in the long run.
In 1996, Alok Trivedi joined the company as Head of the Department H.R. While facing these problems, he realized that the causes of these problems were deep rooted and required a proactive approach. He started with an approach called Employee Relation Audit, developed by him, where everything was to be monitored, regulated and reported on regular intervals. He along with his team prepared an action plan (Appendix 1) and corrective measures were taken accordingly. Facilities of drinking water were arranged at 3 to 4 places in the...