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).
8 June 1981
THE NEW INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
"Industrial Relations" are the two most inaligned words of English language these days. Thousands of learned people, all around the world, are writing millions of mostly not-so-learned words about IR.
As far as I can see, industrial Relations are really "Human Relations in an industrial Situation". And there are any number of situations where humans get together and transact business (using human relations) such as:
- Medical Situations
- Legal Situations
- Religious Situations
- Family Situations, etc. etc.
But we do not hear much talk of:
Medical Relations, or
Legal Relations etc.
Why is that so?
Simply because, in those situations, the relations involved/ invoked are basically treated as "Human Relations" and tackled as such.
Also because, in most such cases, the relationship is between two individuals, viz:
- A Doctor and a patient
- A Lawyer and a client
- A Priest and a parishioner
- A Father and a son.
But when it comes to an industrial situation, the picture suddenly changes !
Here, all kinds of "third-parties" get involved. And for some of these, their
very existence depends upon getting "involved" !
These "third" parties are :
- The Labour Commissioner
- The Labour Courts
- The Labour/Management Lawyers
- The Labour/Personnel Professionals
- The Union Professionals
- The "Advisors"
- The Government, etc.etc.
The list is endless.
So what should be essentially a "person-to-person" affair has been turned into a "public affair"! The attitude of the "third" parties is, "How dare you settle the issue all by yourself just the two of you?"
Coming to think of it, left to themselves, the worker and the supervisor are incompetent to "mess-up" the matter -they need "third" party help to do this.' I
Thank God, "third" parties have, as yet, not discovered how each one of us manages his/her "person-to-person" relationship after working hours!
I enclose herewith first part of an article on "The New Industrial Relations". Although there are those "omnipresent" third-parties in the article, the message, essentially is to get back to the "Human Relations" - on a person-to-person basis.
I hope those of you who believe in "Miya Bibi Rajee, to Kya Karega Kazi" and waited to practice it, would be able to renew their faith through this article, in any case, please feel completely free to share your views with me - in writing or across the table.