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

Monday, 15 December 1986


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

Dear Friends
Sun Rises  in the West
(Part IV)

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,


·     Increase   employment   opportunity   by   decreasing working hours.


·     Increase  productivity   of  labour-force  by  giving managements flexibility.

French Company MERLIN-GERIN did not lose time.        

·     It rescheduled work-time.
·     It   introduced   round-the-clock,   six-days-a-week, working in factory.

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!

( b )        German car-manufacturer VOLKSWAGEN,

·     In 1982/83, froze recruitment for 18 months
·     In 1984/85, hired 19000 workers.
·     In 1986,    plans to add 10000 workers.

·        19 European  (OECD) countries are expected  to create 800,000 jobs in 19861 -
best performance since 1979.

Question ;     
How did this reversal become possible?

Answer   :

Through a  realisation on the  part of  the workmen -  and the Unions  - that  if JOBS are  to be  saved, two  things must happen  :

( I )        Restrictive Work-Rules/Practices must go         


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!

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