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).
15 Dec 1986
Sun Rises in the West
To improve employment situation, the French Government finally did something!
In January 1986, it passed a law,
which gave companies right to introduce flexible working hours, if they
would reduce average work-week from 39 hours to 38 hours!
So in one stroke, French Government expects to achieve TWO results,
RESULT NO. 6
· Increase employment opportunity by decreasing working hours.
RESULT No. 7
· Increase productivity of labour-force by giving managements flexibility.
French Company MERLIN-GERIN did not lose time.
· It rescheduled work-time.
1984 —> 62 Hours/Week.
1986 —> 102 Hours/week
French Government also found out something else!
Hundreds 'of Companies were applying for "laying-off" workers - because they had
no work to give to their workers.
In 13% of the cases, the labour-inspector was refusing permission (in Bombay,' what is this percentage? Will the Labour Commissioner, please enlighten!).
The Government passed a new law and removed the power of the labour-inspector to refuse lay-off!——
The Germans were red in the face! The French had taken the lead !!
Not to be out-foxed, the German Government sprang a surprise. It passed a new law,
Which allows .companies to hire workers on "Contract" of upto 18 months. When contract ends, companies can lay-off the workers !!
How did the german Industry react?
Here are two examples:
( a ) West German Metal Industry reduced work-week from an average of 40
hours/week to 38.5 hours/week without reducing pay!
· In 1982/83, froze recruitment for 18 months
· In 1984/85, hired 19000 workers.
· In 1986, plans to add 10000 workers.
NET RESULT NO. 8
· 19 European (OECD) countries are expected to create 800,000 jobs in 19861 -
best performance since 1979.
How did this reversal become possible?
Through a realisation on the part of the workmen - and the Unions - that if JOBS are to be saved, two things must happen :
Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (AUEW) has 10 lakh members in Britain.
For creating a mere 500 jobs, it recently agreed to NISSAN MOTOR CO. (of Japan) - who wants to start a factory in Britain - to wipe-out restrictive work-rules.
This is the same Union, which prevented closing of british LEYLAND - a car company - and saved thousands of- jobs, by co-operating with the Management
and removing restrictive work-rules (rigid job-classifications).
And before I go on to tell you what is the SECOND thing that must happen in order to create jobs, I would like you to take a look at some of the restrictive work-practices existing in our own POWAI FACTORY right now !!
1. Getting ready to leave as early as an hour before actual closing time.
2. Breaking for lunch earlier than the scheduled time and leaving the place of work for canteen earlier.
3. Collecting of funds for different purposes during working hours.
4. Spending time for planning and purchase of material for pujas, felicitations, etc.
5. Punching cards before changing into uniforms.
6. Tendency to waste time at the start and end of the shift and also before and after tea/lunch recess.
7. Extended tea breaks.
8. Visiting dispensaries for very minor non-industrial ailments which can be treated during non-working hours.
9. Employees gathering in groups and chit-chatting for long durations.
10. "This is not my job" attitude.
Those of you who think the list is incomplete, please do write to me!