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

Friday, 12 September 1986

AFRAID IN THE DARK

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). 

12 Sep 1986

To:
Dear Friends                      

AFRAID IN THE DARK


In the middle of the night, a Guru asked his  Chela to go and get him some medicinal-herbs from  the jungle as he was having a high-fever.   The Chela got up from his sleep, went out of the hut but returned within a minute.

"What happened?" - The Guru asked.

Chela said,

"I am afraid, it is very dark outside".

"But who are you afraid of?"  Guru asked, "Is there anyone out there?".

"No, there is no one there  - it is very lonely  - that is why I am afraid".

The Guru was suprised !

"I agree it is very  lonely outside.  But that is no reason  to feel afraid.   How can you  say there  is no one  there ?  YOU are  there  -  unless  you  confess  that you  are  afraid   of yourself ! "
  
I  don't  know  whether  the  darkness  in  the  Chela's  mind disappeared with the "Light of knowledge" of Guru's words.

But I know one or two things  :

ONE

Many people from  all over Powai have written  to me regarding the need  to switch-off the  tube-lights in the  shops and the offices when employees go out  for lunch or after the working-hours.                                  

TWO
Last week, I asked  the Union-Committee members to get me  some medicines.  I was telling the Union Committee  :

1.

1980-81
1984-85

Profitability (PBT/SALES)
14.0%
7.7%

Manpower cost
Stores-crediting
19.4%
26.0%



ELEMENT
JAN '79
JAN '86
INCREASE (Index)
a.
C.P. I.
1447
2922
202
Maximum D.A.
Rs. 1035
Rs. 2472
239
Minimum D.A
Rs. 503
Rs. 1145
228
Monthly Wage Bill (DR)
(Powai + Madh)
Rs. 38.75
lakhs
Rs. 99.02 lakhs
256
Workmen strength (DR)
3937 nos
3790 nos
-96
Average Wage (DR)
d - e
Rs. 984
Rs. 2613
265
9.
Stores-crediting (S.V.)
(Powai + Madh)
Rs. 59.8 crores (78 - 79)
Rs. 127.1 crores
(84 - 85)
213

While calculating monthly wage bill, I have not added

-      Bonus + Ex-gratia

I was telling them,

"In seven years, consumer price  index has gone from 100 to 202, but average  wages of a  worker has  gone up from 100  to 265  I You are getting more  than 100% neutralisation for rise in cost-of-living  I   And  if  cost-of-living  includes  cost  of  food (whether eaten at  home or in canteen), it  is only natural that you pay Rs.  2.37 for a standard Vegetarian  Thali (now sold for Rs. 0.65)  -  and a  similar price-increase  for all  other food items.

If we include  Bonus, ex-gratia, LTA, etc.  the average wage has perhaps  gone-up  THREE TIMES  in  just seven  years  I   In all fairness,  canteen   selling-prices  must  be  revised  upwards. There was  even an  agreed formula  in the  1973 Agreement.  So, please  go out,  tell  the employees  and bring  back  the badly needed medicine - the price increase  ".

After a moment of silence, the Union Office-bearers said,

"Sir, sorry,  but we cannot agree  for a  price-increase nor can we ask our members".
That is  when I realised what  the Guru was  saying.  Although  I do not  claim to be  anybody's Guru,  it was obvious  to me  that the  Union Office-bearers  had  identified  themselves  with  the Chela !

The people we are  afraid of most  are our own people  - our own selves, when the darkness of ignorance surrounds us.

Will someone  switch-on the tube-light  please, before it  is too late !


H.C. PAREKH

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