Maruti is experiencing what organisations in West Bengal earlier,
and later those based in Maharashtra experienced. I will not be surprised if
the other industries in Gurgaon and Manesar belt reduce operations or at least
their dependency on operations there.
Gujarat is wooing them!
There is a pattern to the growth story of these states.
There was a stage, till 1990s, when the Government was
supposed to play the role of the big brother in Industrial relations. What they
did was to support the labour movement in a thoughtless manner. It became very
difficult to carry on business in West Bengal, Kerala and later in Maharashtra.
In WB and Kerala the apathy towards employers was to be seen to be believed.
The Government which has wide range of powers could have tamed the parties but
managing industrial relations with an eye on political agenda is never going to
produce the right result. That was where things went wrong. Political interests
took priority over labour or industry interests.
The industrial belt from Vikhroli to Thane in Mumbai and the
industrial belt on Thane Belapur Road have more offices and malls than
factories. The manufacturing has moved to other states, particularly to
Uttar Pradesh [jokingly referred to as ‘Ulta Pradesh’ by
some, because anything can go wrong there all of a sudden] has a kind of
lawlessness which is shocking to anybody coming from other states. The local
netas make running an establishment very difficult. Corruption is at an
unimaginable level. This is one state where chief executives of many big
organisations had to appear in criminal courts in labour matters because cases
were filed for political reasons or because threats of extracting money failed.
The labour inspections in UP and recently in Maharashtra
were blatant exercises in extracting money from organisations. When Diwali
festival is on the anvil these activities gain a great momentum. [Now that Anna
Hazare has led an assault on corruption, let us watch what happens this year!]
The third party intervention role of the Government was
almost given up after 90s when parties were left to fend for themselves. The
employers who were underdog till then became tigers and carried out downsizing
ruthlessly. Competition however has driven a sense in the minds of both over a
period and both the employers and labour understood that it was suicidal to
have strife for a long duration.
Maruti has already moved its Swift production to Gurgaon.
It will be safe to produce there as the representative status of the union at
Gurgaon is challenged by the Manesar union. So it has a reason to support
Maruti by producing extra vehicles. But the reputation for quality is already
falling and customers are moving away. Maruti on its part is fortifying itself
by opening up a facility at Gujarat. Once that is in place, Maruti will cut
down the Manesar union to size. This is a very predictable game!
What is the Government doing in this entire scenario?
Surely it has powers, legal and political, to keep the wheels of the industry moving.
Maruti has so far sacked 21 workers from the plant which is currently producing
only 200 cars per day from a maximum capacity of around 900. Old stalwarts in
IR will remember that Premier Auto produced 40 cars as a protest taking the
company to the precipice.
Expecting such an action from the Government’s labour department
may appear a huge expectation. But Gujarat is able to rein in parties; say so
openly that it guarantees industrial peace, why can’t others?
Labels: Gujarat, Industrial peace, Industrial relations, labour unrest, Manesar union, Maruti Suzuki, Strike, Swift, Third party intervention