Article (July-2016)


Fair & Firm Approach will work!

Bhaskar Dhariwal

Designation : -   Manager - HR & ER



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In any organization, every issue related to labour, whether it is small or big in nature have its own importance and if not tackled proactively or damage control measures not taken timely, even a small issue like issuance of leave card may lead to strike and production loss to the organization.

As per the company policy, a person, without any technical qualification will be taken as trainee for two years and his regularization is considered subject to satisfactory performance and vacancies from time to time. Person taken as trainee under the scheme and on completion of two years training with satisfactory performance, the management was considering his case for regularization but sudden illness of the person changed the whole scenario in a different manner. Company, where the person was taken as a trainee, is a leader in their business and known for decent salaries with all statutory and many non-statutory benefits to their employees besides good working environment.  As per the statutory compliance, management was not under any obligation for arranging the treatment in super specialty hospital but this was the positive approach and clear intention of management by admitting him to a Super Specialty hospital and also ensuing the timely payment of medical bills and arranging physiotherapy treatment at home and purchasing new physiotherapy equipment at home.

From very first day of trainee's illness, when he was admitted to the hospital trade union never bothered even to visit the patient at hospital but suddenly got interest in his case. Union in any organization plays a vital role and may lead to positive environment by their intentions and actions. If we talk in Indian context, many of the union leaders have not properly understood the roles and responsibility of unions and always keen to increase membership of union members. Unions and union leaders must have to understand the changing industrial scenario and view point of management towards workmen. Now a day's management is more concerned about decent salaries, work satisfaction, employee engagement, and implementation of different non statutory welfare facilities to the workmen and extended even to their family members.   

With the change of whole scenario, where the management is taking the initiative for developing productive work environment, it becomes the moral responsibility for union leaders to motivate their members to make the congenial work environment and put the best efforts in making the organization great place to work.

Rights and Responsibility never come alone. If union can talk about their rights, at the same time it is expected from union leader to understand their responsibility towards organization also. In my opinion having a positive Union Leader and Union/s at organization may lead the organization to next level, in terms of organizational productivity, employee discipline, employee welfare and engaged work environment. 

So, demand of union leaders for taking the person on duty on false fitness certificate and making him on roll of company in workman category is never justified and against laid policies and procedures of the company. 

Here, we see two separate aspects: First is, after having treatment for two years and surprisingly fitness certificate given by the ESI doctors and the second opinion from another Doctor on the fitness of the person reveals that he is not fit. So taking him on duty under the pressure of union as a workman at shop-floor will certainly endanger the life of workman. 

Second aspects is, even after knowing the whole situation and condition of the person, demand by the union to regularize him as workman on shop floor, is totally unjustified and inhuman. The only intention of the union leader visible is to increase the membership of union at any cost.

Sometime, it is also understood that more the liberal management is, union leaders tend to take unreasonable/ unethical benefit of the same. In whole episode, right from taking the person as a trainee and management's action and support the person during his illness, never showed any bad intention on management part. 

Even after, persuasion by the union for taking him on roll, management has considered the case for a white collar employment as a data entry operator, light work, which is more favorable for him.

Following actions are suggested for resolving the strike:
1.    Management should issue a notice to union leader regarding illegal strike as per the provisions of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.

2.    After issuance of notice, Management may call the union leader and should make an attempt to convince them about the situation and threats involved in regularizing the person as a workman at shop floor.

3.    If, even after making an attempt for convincing the union leader for amicable solution of the issue, the union leader does not understand, management must clear their intention to the union leader that their demand for taking the person in workman category and issuance of workman category leave card is not just and totally inappropriate.

4.    Show the fair & firm approach, again communicate the union leaders and workers involved in illegal strike regarding "no work, no pay" principle.

5.    All such communications and initiatives taken by the management for solution of Industrial unrest at organization must be marked to government competent authority of the region under Industrial Disputes Act. 

Following measures can be taken to avoid recurrence of such incidence:
1.    Too much welfare facilities, liberal behavior of management, sometime lead to unreasonable demands by the union leaders.

2.    Every Industrial Unrest is different in nature and no thumb rule is possible for solution of industrial unrest.

3.    It is always advisable to the management to be clear in their thoughts and actions towards the demands of union. 

4.    Management must show the "fair and firm approach" towards dealing with such or similar kind of cases or unreasonable demands of union.