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

Tuesday, 30 September 1986

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES & EMPLOYMENT

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).

30 Sep 1986

Dear  SV
General Secretary-BKS Union

Sub: Technological Changes & Employment - Labour Management Co-operation

Last week the two of us attended a National Workshop on "Labour Management Co-operation on Productivity & Technology Changes", at Delhi.

During the course of the 2-day debate, repeatedly the question came up of the staff rendered surplus due to changes in technology/ increase in productivity. It was heartening to hear the leaders of the major central Trade Unions say that they would give full support for modernisation, technological changes and increase in productivity as long as the employers guarantee that there will be no retrenchment of staff as a result of these changes.

Such a positive attitude is a refreshing departure from the dogmatic stand taken by some of the unions in the past. It was obvious that there is an all-round appreciation that neither can we generate additional employment, nor can we improve the standard of living of our citizens unless we adopt - and adapt ourselves - the latest technology and do so rapidly.

The crux of the problem is for the unions, the employees concerned and the management to work together sufficiently in advance so that the employees likely to be affected can be retrained for different jobs. We know that birth is painful. This is equally true of rebirth and all that an organisation can do is to lessen the pain of rebirth. The pain cannot be eliminated altogether. But, to what extent can the pain be reduced would largely depend upon the employee concerned himself. No matter what his age, he must be willing to learn new trades - new skills. He has to make himself useful to the organisation and earn his wages. No organisation can carry on its pay-roll an useless employee permanently.

It is the responsibility of the management to visualise the technological changes on the horizon 2 years or 5 years ahead of time. It is also the responsibility of the management not only to share such "visions" with the employees but to initiate a dialogue with the union sufficiently ahead of time.

It is the responsibility of the employees and the union to co-operate with the management in a smooth change-over to the new technology with the least resistance and maximum accommodation.

I foresee at least two changes on the horizon within Powai during the next 2 to 5 years, as detailed below :

(a) Introduction of Electronic PABX. Our existing PABX system is nearly 25 years old and totally unreliable. I am sure we lose lakhs of rupees worth business every year due to our poor communication system. It is therefore imperative that we change over to the latest technology, viz., the Electronic PABX. This can happen within the next 2 years. This may however, render most of the telephone operators surplus. Ultimately may be just one or two operators may be required.

(b) Computer Aided Design (CAD). All over the developed world, computers are taking over from the Draughtsman. In Powai itself a small beginning has been made by the introudcion of CAD in Group II and III. I foresee a situation where by 1991/92, most of our draughting gets done on computer-driven plotters. This may render surplus most of our Draughtsmen at present numbering 141.

By a copy of this letter I am. asking the concerned Managers to initiate a dialogue with the Union and the concerned employees right away. In my opinion there deployment/ retraining decisions sould emerge jointly in participation with the employees concerned. I am also requesting the Managers all over Powai to let me know what other technological changes they foresee during the next 5 years which may result into surplus people who may require retraining. Let us hope that modernisation in L&T becomes a rewarding experience and not a painful rebirth.

  H.C. PAREKH

Friday, 26 September 1986

A MESSAGE WELL RECEIVED

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).

26 sep 1986

To:
Shri
The President
Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS)
Sena Bhavan
Shivaji Park
Bombay 400 028

A MESSAGE WELL RECEIVED

Dear Shri

On behalf of the Management of L&T and on my own behalf, I wish to compliment you, for your spirited speech delivered yesterday evening to a group of shop-representatives.

I was specially moved by your earnest message to the workmen to improve their all-round PRODUCTIVITY, for building up our nation. I am sure, your appeal would inspire them to strive hard to realise the productivity improvement targets embodied in the latest 4-year agreement.

I wish to convey my sincere thanks for sparing your valuable time in visiting L&T. We look forward to many more visits.

Thanking you and with best regards,

Yours sincerely,

H.C. PAREKH

Tuesday, 23 September 1986

CATCH THEM DOING SOMETHING RIGHT

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). 

  23 Sep1986

To:
Dear Friends              

Catch Them Doing Something Right

A few days back, a shop-representative came and asked me,
"Sir, is  it true  that last night  you  came to  Powai around 11.30 p.m.  and  caught some  employees  playing  cards during working-hours?"
The suddenness of  the question did surprise me  but I managed to reply,
"No,  I did not  suprise anyone  last  night -  but since  you asked, do people often play cards during the second-shift?"
I was not prepared for what I heard next :
"It is not often  in second-shift : it is  often in the third-shift!  If only  managers paid surprise-visits at  night, they would know what is going on  - and they would be able to catch the culprits".
I have been  thinking ever-since.  How many  employees come in third  shift?  May  be 245  out of  our 7332  employees.  Then there are 305 working-nights  in a year.  Even if I wanted to, how many nights can  I make a surprise-visit to Powai?  May be 10 in  a year?  And how many  dishonest (time-stealer) thieves will I manage to catch?  May be 5 - may be 10?
But on  the other hand, is  it not more likely  that for every one dishonest employee doing something wrong  in the middle of the  night,  there  are perhaps  100  honest  employees  doing something right during the broad day-light of the day-shift ?
So  why  not concentrate  on  "catching  them  doing  something right"?  - and telling  the rest of Powai about them ? This way, may be more  and more employees will feel motivated to  do more and more  right things I  And  very soon the wrong  "acts" will disappear !
I  got just  such an  opportunity recently  when I  received a note  from  Mr.  C.S.  Martin of  Switchgear  Prototype  Shop. Reproduced below is what Martin had to tell me  :

"Dear Mr. Parekh,                                                                  19.8.86                         

Sub: E C D

In  response  to  your  call  for  suggestions  on  the  above subject, my feedback to you is as follows :
1.   We, the  25 from the prototype  Shop (PSW  21-13) had our      first meeting on ecd on 18.7.86 wherein  we discussed the      need   for  ECD  based   on   circulars  issued   by  the      management, and  from  the word go  after  a  few probing      questions by all regarding the  genuineness of ECD it was      decided to give full co-operation.
2.      Though our output  is not easily quantifiable  being a development  department, I  can  assure you  that  the extra efforts our boys are putting  in will definitely result in  atleast 10  to 20% more  output and  better quality of prototype.
3.      Suggestions  regarding productivity  improvement  that came forth during the discussions are as follows :-
a. Previously one  TA was  handling Tool  Stores, Machine    Maintenance, Planning  of material.  Vendor follow-up,    etc. and  Stores activity  was taking  up most  of his    time -  hence  it was  decided that  each  Fitter will    take the  tools  from the  open cupboard  and  keep it    back after use.   This has resulted  in better machine    maintenance, planning, etc.
b. Work  tables and Chargehand  tables in  the department    were
rearranged to bring in maximum efficiency.
c. Everybody agreed  to  give full  co-operation  to each    other  in order to
increase productivity  and quality    of work in the department.
4.   Lastly, as a  feedback to you  on ECD we  felt that  this      should have been done long back.  i,e, E C D.
Personally speaking  and in  my own  opinion I  feel that cutting  down  on  Overtime, reducing  varieties  in  the canteen, like serving only one  type of soup, stopping of sweet dish or even reducing varieties of vegetables is a good  idea, but  I  still wonder  whether  it was  really necessary to stop Mutton dish which  is the main dish for us non-vegetarians,  are we saving substantial  amount on this  item  --------     instead  we   should  strive  to increase productivity at  all levels.  The  pressure must be felt  right from the top and everybody  from JGM, DGM, Managers and  others  down the  line who  are responsible for Production in one way or the  other should come right down on  the shop-floor and spend a  few minutes everyday and show their interest and concern for productivity and I  am very  sure that  with  the  co-operative atmosphere prevailing in Powai our Productivity will  far exceed our expectations.

The following personnel from  Prototype Shop would like to see the film "Productivity - We  learn from the Japanese " any day after 15.45 hours but preferably on Friday.    ............

With best regards,

C.S. Martin

Congratulations  Martin  -  and  congratulations  to  your  25 colleagues! - for allowing me to catch  you doing something right.

H.C. PAREKH

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