Arm twisting by union
Designation : - Editorial
Organization : - Business Manager HR Magazine
Mr. Rana was a very popular trade union leader of the area. He was a tireless, radical battler and had kept his reputation among the working class. He had fought his way up against all odds and was the popular president of the trade union of the Auto Life Components Ltd. in NCR, Delhi. He was held in esteem by the workers of the company and his was the only union operating in the company.
Mr. Mohan was the secretary of the Union. While Mr. Rana was an outsider, Mr. Mohan was an employee of the company. Mr. Mohan was good in drafting the letters and organizing meetings. Being close to Rana, he totally depended on Mohan for the organisation and internal administration of the union. Being a very busy man and having a number of other unions to attend, Mr. Rana was dependent on Mr. Mohan, for his secretarial work also.
While a charter of demands of the union was pending with the management of Auto Life, an incident took place in the production line involving Mr. Mohan. Since the wage negotiations were dragging on and on and the management was not coming to Union's terms, Mr. Mohan suddenly felt that something dramatic had to be done to make the management wake up and come to terms. In such a belligerent mood, Mr. Mohan chose to disobey the instructions of his supervisor Mr. Menon and create an unruly situation in the plant. Mohan refused to obey his instructions to look after other work station where the associate suddenly fell ill and had to leave the factory on half day leave. Mohan refused and defied his authority. Altercation took place and Mr. Mohan shouted on Mr. Menon, and abused him also. Mr. Menon maintained his patience and remained calm and left the scene. Mr. Menon was a very mature, upright and a kind man. He was held in high esteem by all the workers of his department and commanded a lot of respect from his subordinates. Following this incident due to instigation and misreporting by Mohan, workers got misled and there was a stay-in-strike in the Factory.
Mr. Rana who was not aware of the happenings was informed of the work stoppage and he rushed to the spot. After having a hurried preliminary discussion with the management, he met the group of striking workers separately and talked to them. Later, he called Mr. Mohan alone and discussed the problem with him. Mr. Rana explained to Mr. Mohan that they had been caught on the wrong foot; the strike was illegal and the striking workmen were liable for a penal wage cut of 8 days for breach of law and agreement. If the management initiates disciplinary action against Mohan, they had a very good cause to dismiss him. Mr. Rana an experienced union leader told Mohan "look here, we are now in a fix. We must wriggle out of the situation unscathed. I shall save you all, this time. Never in the future get into this kind of trouble and for heaven's sake, consult me before you take any step."
The company had some very urgent supply commitments and was not in a position to face the work stoppage at the moment. The Plant Manager, Mr. D'Souza, a very competent "text-book" type professional Manager, called Mr. Menon the supervisor to his room and briefed him about the situation. Mr. D'Souza requested Mr. Menon to suggest some solution to the problem. Mr. Menon then told Mr. D'Souza that since the company cannot afford to have a work stoppage at the moment, as Mohan had misbehaved and abused him without any provocation in front of others, he should apologise and the whole matter would be closed. Mr. D'Souza heaved a sigh of relief and felt that a solution was in sight. In the discussions that followed between the plant manager D'Souza and Mr. Rana, it was agreed that Mr. Mohan should apologise to the supervisor Mr. Menon for his misbehaviour and both the parties will then forget the whole episode. Unfortunately Mr. Mohan was unrepentant and refused to apologise. Mr. Rana realising that he was unable to persuade Mr. Mohan to apologise, offered to apologise to the management him-self and in his capacity as the president of the union of behalf of Mr. Mohan. He informed Mr. D'Souza accordingly.
On being informed of Mr. Rana's offering to apologise instead of Mr. Mohan, the plant manager D'Souza felt that a solution was in sight. Mr. D'Souza thought it fit to refer to Mr. Menon. When Mr. D'souza communicated the development to Mr. Menon, he argued "why should Mr. Rana apologise. He had not done any wrong to me. I was abused and insulted by Mr. Mohan. Let him apologise to me. That is the minimum we as management should insist to uphold the dignity of an officer other in future it will be difficult to handle people at production line."
Mr. D'Souza realised that the problem was back where it had originated.