1- The leadership & functioning style of the new ED seems to be errant. At one point of time, he disagrees with Nirav as to why the workers shouldn't form their own union, he had personally no objection to it and at another point of time, when Nirav was successfully able to quash the worker's union registration process, the ED seizing upon the moment, turned his back to the worker's, changed his way of talking to them and rather than assuring to them that he will look into their demands of increase in salary, informed them that it was already very high and that he was looking at restructuring it and linking it with productivity. ED didn't also bother to appreciate the efforts of Nirav when he was able to get the workers union application rejected due to technical reasons. ED was only interested in looking after his own interests. He was not bothered about the further repercussions of his actions or his wordings to worker's productivity or how it will affect final quality output of the manufactured product to the customer. ED was also exercising control over the presentation that Nirav will be making to the Global Director. He wanted to be very sure of its contents lest it may go against his interests. Poor leaders also serve as role models-but not in a good way. ED only cared about his own perquisites, rather than attend to workers and other stakeholders. ED failed to motivate workers fully rather commanded and dictated instead.
3- Nirav was caught up in history of chain of events over the years gone by. The new expat ED who had joined was more of a functional line manager and lacked people handling skills. He was replacement of an earlier one who could not carry along with Indian Manager's team. His style of functioning was such that either his instructions be complied with or be shown the exit door. As a result, few middle function managers were sacked and the rest were scared due to job insecurity and mistrust sown. Nirav was observing the sequence of the events gone by, the poor people management skills of the functional managers & directors, but couldn't do much
When Nirav tried to take up the matter with the current ED including of workers forming their own union due to job insecurity, he didn't get support from him. Nirav could see the bigger picture of repercussions if the worker's union was formed but the ED couldn't. Instead when things escalated to worse, during one of the meetings of ED with Worker's union, Nirav was criticised in front of the workers by the ED, to improve his relations with them. Worker's problems reached to such a boil that manufacturing started getting affected and the matter reached the Global President Operations who wanted to probe the issue including HR related issues, if any.
So basically, Nirav was caught in a scenario wherein the opinions of HR weren't listened to or given importance in spite of he being there for the past 12 years. The functional/line managers/directors did as per their whims and wishes and when there was a people related issue, HR was to be blamed in guise of poor employee relationship management. And now, the ED wanted to see what data HR was going to present to Global Operations Head, ED wanted to approve that. So Nirav, in spite of being HR head, wasn't able to take a stand or get the managers & workers to tow the HR's line. HR was merely being used as a puppet or as a side function. Only when matters escalated such that it was starting to affect business and customers, did someone bother to listen to HR's views, but that too in diluted form.
4- Stand of Nirav before the Global President is to make the HR's position clear in spite of the ED wanting to see his presentation and approving it before hand. Nirav should highlight the sequence of events that has led to this worker turmoil eventually. He should highlight the facts without naming or blaming any particular person and also key concern areas. Nirav should be well aware of the fact that there may be a scapegoat when there is a post mortem analysis done and should he be the fall guy, better to make his stand clear.
From a system point of view, Nirav should propose to Global Operations Head that accountability has to be assigned to each & every functional manager/leader beginning from the top to the lowest possible levels. Managers should practice what they preach. Their actions should match their words.
Training on "HR for Non-HR Managers" could also be organised for the functional leaders/managers so that they understand the importance of people, their role & contribution and also learn people management skills/ techniques. Employees are valuable resources of the organization, not just dispensable commodities to be hired, commanded, and fired as shown by the past incumbent Executive Director and current one too. Employees need to be valued. The organization that is focused on workforce excellence builds and maintains a climate of work trust as compared to the policy of mistrust & insecurity prevailing currently. Trust is essential for employee engagement.