Dealing with human emotions is an art. Gone are the days when Industrial Relations were used to handle through muscle power. Many of us may remember the old Vacancy advertisements for Industrial Relation Professionals, during the 80s or early 90s: mentioning as a specific requirement "Well Built, Muscular Guys shall be given preference", after that the pattern of dealing with Industrial Relations has changed drastically and a human touch and transparency between management & union has taken an important place, wherein management and unions sits together on a round table, and discuss their issues, resolved in favor of the organizations, WIN - WIN approach.
And the organizations, following the old strategy of ruling the workforce by power and not by logic or human touch are still suffering the bad Industrial Relations scenario. Time has arrived, when union leaders are also well aware about their rights and duties, as well as their fundamental rights and if they exist, management must give proper respect to them.
Many times, we see that, central trade unions calls nationwide strike, focusing on some agenda points for the same. In my opinion, Mr. Arindam was correct, when heard about the nationwide strike and approached his director and advised to call a meeting of all the section heads. It may be the approach of management that they may start counseling of the workforce for not to go with the nationwide strike, when management is taking care of their facilities and other amenities (But the actions of management from last five years were not in favor of workers, as targeting and terminating the workers, also played a major role for making the existing worker to think in a very systematic way and taken a very safe approach for involving themselves in the strike) and may guide the influential workers to become management ambassadors to sell the Idea of management. But here the situation was totally different, wherein, company director always believed in using the muscular power, terminating the workers, so trust and positivity for healthy discussion between management and union was completely missing.
When it comes to the leadership style of director of company, it is clear that he does not believe in human values and always tries to play a game of Win and Lose. In his opinion, getting directions of Government for allowing the workers to form a union, was a biggest defeat for him. Other way round, if he would have been a mature leader, he would have shown the respect for Government order and welcome the union office bearers, and asked them to "let's work for the interest of organization and workers both" but he failed there also. His analysis of the situation went wrong and again when situation was not seems to be in favor of the organization and came to know that the whole workforce is planning to go on a strike in a very systematic manner, instead of giving a message to section head and line manager to be cautious, he has given the instructions to two Junior Level of HR Officers, and after actions of both of them led the organizational peace and harmony in a different direction.
Having good rapport with the top management is not a bad idea but getting over influenced by it and by-passing the instructions or taking the presence of immediate supervisor for granted, may result in to fatal for the good environment of organization. At the same time, director of such a big organization should also give importance to Arindam views of getting all section head in confidence and preparation and implementation of preventive strategy to defuse the idea of strike.
The behavior of both the young HR officers of snatching the Union Flag and throwing it away was totally unprofessional and opposite to the learning of Human Resource professionals. When law gives the right to workers for freedom of association and collective bargaining, one should not get over emotional while dealing with such incidences, flashing the message by one of the police officer to District SP, was very correct, as this type of immature behavior cannot be tolerated both by Police administration.
Again we all must understand one thing, while dealing with any of the issue related to workers or connected with union, that, maintaining harmonious industrial relations is not a responsibility of one person who is heading the HR or ER, or taking care of HR/ER section because one single mistake at shop-floor by lowest cadre of staff or a wrong decision taken by the director of the company may spoil the whole environment of the organization, as we have witnessed in this multinational company.
Now after this all has happened, management should call all the union office bearers or worker representatives and should intimate with them the decision of management against the immature behavior/act of both the HR professionals and should make a new and fresh start. Better late than never can also be good in IR situations.