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).
18 May 1984
Dear Shop Rep
THE TRUTH ON PAGE 3, PARA 4
Months of negotiations are over and a copy of the Settlement is already with you – except that this time it is a cyclostyled copy and the colour is light blue!
I assume that you have read the Settlement carefully. You are expected to study and understand the Agreement. When a worker approaches you with a problem, it is your privilege to explain to him the relevant clauses.
If you have some doubt yourself, feel free to seek an explanation from either the foreman or the manager of your department. And as far as consulting your unit Joint-Secretary is concerned, I don't think I even need to advise you on that !
But there is one clause in the Agreement which I personally wish to draw your attention to.
You have guessed it right; This is the clause on page 3, para 4.
By now, I suppose you have also guessed correctly what I am going to say next.
And do you know why you were able to guess correctly ?
Because you know the TRUTH;
- the truth regarding page 3 para 4
- the truth that it is a commitment for increasing productivity by 25% within 3 months of signing of the Agreement.
- the truth that relatively there is very little improvement in the productivity-levels anywhere in Powai during the 5 weeks since we signed the Agreement.
- the truth that an L&T worker is quite capable of increasing productivity by not a mere 25% but may be even 50% (as I mentioned at the Gate-meeting) if only he made-up his mind to do so.
I have brought these facts to the notice of those who have made this commitment (see enclosed letter-translated for you from the original English version). I sent it because I think I owe them a feedback. I also furnished shopwise details at the Powai level Productivity Committee meeting held on 8th May 1984.
Now I am writing to you because I feel, you too, ought to know my grave concern at this alarming situation. I am sure your unit Joint-Secretary must have also. spoken to you regarding his concern - after all he has signed the agreement on your behalf.
The point is - if the union has bargained hard (and I should know how hard!) and delivered unprecedented fantastic benefits to the workmen, they have also committed, on behalf of the very same workmen, to deliver 25% productivity increase.
If they have done this on your behalf given their word of honour - staked their personal reputation - will you let them down?
But this is exactly what will happen if productivity does not go up, as promised, by 25% !
A feeling of let-down; And the Unit committee will not be alone in feeling this way. I too will feel the same way!
There is still time. Can we, for once, prove to ourselves that we are men and women - of honour ?