Hi Friends,
                                              Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.
                                                  There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"
                                       With regards,
                                       Hemen Parekh
                                       27 June 2013

Sunday, 23 December 1979

COMMU-TIES

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave). 

23 Dec 1979

To;

Deputy General Managers (DGMs)

"COMMU-TIES" - Yes
"COMMITTEES" - No

We already have many Committees.

Perhaps too many.

So I would be the last person to suggest one more.

An  anthropologist   discovered  existence   of  'Committees' during the Indus Valley civilization.

While digging at "mohenjo-daro", he  unearthed a room-full of chairs  and  cups of  tea  -  "Come-meet-tea"! (Since then civilization  has made  great strides  in this  art  of doing nothing, by introducing coffee.' - it keeps you awake !)

But then  "Mohenjo-Daro' in B.C.  3,000 had fewer  walls than Powai has in  1979 A.D. - except that  these are 'invisible' I (to frustrate the anthropologist of 4,000 AD'.?)

Non-believers, kindly study Annexure 'A'

That's right.  I meant 'Barriers to communication'.

So  we should have  some more  'commu-ties'  - communication ties.

These,  I call,  'holes-in-the-walls. '  Our  windows  to  the 'worlds'.
The 'worlds' of

-      Managers
-      Officers and Supervisors
-      Technical and Clerical staff
-      Workmen and Union

Under Phase  I (OPERATION commu-ties?)  we have already made a 'beginning with the

             "PRODUCTIVITY COMMU-TIE"
at 4 levels



Under  Phase  II, I  believe we  should  establish a  regular channel of  communication with the  Supervisors and Officers. They are there to implement  Company Policy - even help frame it  (Supervisory  participation  in  Management?).   We,  the managers,  should understand  them  better  - as  a group,  -their    feelings/difficulties/suggestions.     They    must understand   better,  the   managerial  directives  and   the inconsistencies  of  managerial  action  -  whether  real  or apparent.

With the foregoing objective  in mind, I met  17 of  them on 21st   inst.    The  response   was   very  encouraging   and constructive.   I  felt that  a major  source  of energy  has remained untapped in this age of energy-crisis 11
They  would  like  to  meet   us  once  a  fortnight   (at least initially).  Say at 4.30 p.m. (G-4 Conference Room) on

-    4th   January '80
-    17th January '80
-    31st  January '80

We may call this  "INNOVATION COMMU-TIE'.  Whether innovative communication  will  take  place  or  not  will  depend  upon whether you  are present  or not.  Therefore,  I urge  you to remain present and help bring down the walls!

Then someday we will sit down and think about Phase III.


       H.C. PAREKH

Sunday, 16 December 1979

THE NIGHTMARE YEAR

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave).

16 Dec 1979

To:

Dear friends

THE NIGHTMARE YEAR
The year 1979 is drawing to a close.
It has been a bad year so far.  What  little is left does not appear all  that cheerful.   The future looks  as bleak  as a Hindi film does around interval!  (except that in the case of a  Hindi film, your  eight-year old  can  predict  'The HAPPY End' rather accurately !)
We  have seen  some  bad years  before.  What  is  so special about 1979?

FIRST:
The Management  and the  Union signed  a 4-year  Agreement in January 1979, that gave  an average wage-rise of over  Rs 200 per month  to the  workmen, resulting  in a  recurring annual expenditure of  Rs 125  lakhs.  Then  there was  the one-time lump sum payment of Rs 90 lakhs.
Now there is  nothing basically  'wrong' in such a  big wage-increase, if  it were  to be neutralised  by a  corresponding improvement  in the  labour-productivity  as incorporated  in the Agreement.  Not only  labour-productivity remained at the same level throughout the year, it went down in some shops !!
This is what makes 1979, a 'bad' year !

SECOND
The labour-cost  further kept on rising  throughout the year. The maximum DA which  was Rs 1145 in January rose  to Rs 1305 in November - a  rise of Rs 160 so far.'  D.A. rise alone has cost the Company around Rs 90 lakhs  during the course of the year.
With  one  more  month  to  go,  1979,  might yet  break  the previous record !!

THIRD:
Most  of the  raw  materials and  components  are  costing us today, between  25% to 50%  more than what  these  cost us 11 months  ago.   Shortages  of raw  materials  caused  loss  of production and termination  of—'Temporaries' .And—this—could happen again and again  !!
Isn't this 'bad' enough?


FOURTH:
A  company needs borrowed  money to  run the  business.  When labour-cost and  materials-cost go up  sharply, we  need more money.   And  the  borrowed  money  itself  has  become  more 'expensive ' because banks increased the rates of interest.
How bad can one get?

FIFTH :
Most of our business is a  'Fixed price' business.  Today, we are executing  orders which  were booked by  us  12/18 months ago at  'firm prices'.  With  all  costs rising  sharply, our 'margins ' are shrinking fast.
This is what makes 1979 a bad year.

SIXTH;
Maharashtra  is going through  one of  the worst  POWER CUTS, ranging from  35% to 55%  (and 100% for 5 days  in May 1979). We have survived  so far, on our own generated  power - which costs us  6 times as  much.  But if  diesel supplies  go down further, (current stock is  just enough for 7 days) the first to be affected would be the Company's transport.
Can we take anything at all for 'granted'?

FINALLY:
1979 began with all outstanding  issues between the Union and the  Management peacefully  settled.  7,000  people  of Powai paid a  heavy price in 1977  and thought that  the worst year in L&T's history had come and gone.
Apparently some people have thought  otherwise and would like to make  1979 THE  WORST  YEAR I The  'Go-slow' agitation  is crowning the nightmare of 1979.
At a time when we should all be unitedly  fighting the 'evil' forces of the ECONOMY, through higher production,  do we have to make matters worse,  by inflicting wounds on ourselves  by resorting to 'Go-slow'?
When  you go  home today,  ask  your eight-year  old what  he thinks 1980 would be like - for us and for our families.

H.C. PAREKH

Monday, 10 December 1979

DO NOT ROCK THE BOAT

Synopsis: Communication For Productivity
Letters written to some 7500 Workers / Managers / Union Leaders, following a period of strike / Go slow / Murders (1979 - 1987), at Mumbai factory of Larsen & Toubro Ltd. This direct / open / honest communication led to a remarkable atmosphere of trust between Workers and Management, which, in turn, increased productivity at 3% per year (ave). 

10 Dec 1979

To:

Dear Co-traveller


DO NOT ROCK THE BOAT

POWAI WORKS  is like a  boat.  You are  aware that  this boat has  not been  sailing  smoothly of  late.   Some people  are trying to  drill holes  in it, little  realizing that  if the boat goes down, they  go down too ! - perhaps before  the boat goes down !! What else is 'go-slow' agitation?
Over the years, our boat has sprung a few small  leaks and we should all be busy bailing out water and sealing  these leaks - not drilling holes!!  Future of 7,000 people  (and of their families) is at  stake.  A few persons (whose own  futures do not ride  the boat) are  taking dangerous liberties  with the future of 7,000 workmen.  Can this be allowed?
To agitate peacefully and democratically  for a 'just' cause, is  the birth  right of  the working  class.  No  enlightened Management will deny that, and  L&T Management has repeatedly demonstrated that it is an enlightened Management.
But, is the present 'go-slow' for a ' just ' cause?
At  a considerable  sacrifice  to  the L&T  workmen,  the BKS Union got  the Management to  agree to refer  the cases  of 8 workmen  to the  Labour  Court.   now the  workmen  are being asked  to  make  further  sacrifices.   For  what?   Was  the earlier sacrifice all in vain?  You be the judge.
Our Management ''has a reputation of honouring an understanding, if it was given.   The one and only understanding is the agreement signed   by  the  Union   and  the  Management on 17.3.1978.  Management has every intention of honouring the same.  It is hoped that the educated and intelligent workmen of L&T will also uphold this democratic tradition and honour the  agreement  by  immediately  withdrawing the - GO-SLOW agitation, before this disease  spreads   like plague and consumes our futures !!

H.C. PAREKH