Monday, May 20, 2013 | Home› Articles
Cover Story: Guest Column
As I pen down my thoughts during this present crisis at Maruti Suzuki, consequent to the barbaric act of unprecedented industrial violence at our Manesar Plant, my mind is flooded with numerous questions, frustration and even despair, at what I witnessed as a human resources professional. But on top of everything, is the stress, pain and extreme feeling of sadness, of losing a colleague, a fellow professional and a good human being – Awanish, who was close to me and who worked with me with high commitment and to the best of his capability. Why was such a person and such a professional subjected to such heinous and gruesome brutality? Why were so many supervisors and managers beaten to pulp for no rhyme or reason? I wonder if it is part of the professional hazard in our human resources role. If it has been so, then what have we done about it over the years? I have also been reading various opinions and assessments from seniors in the HR and business fraternity, about recommended Employee Relations practices, employee engagement initiatives & professional management approach but one question which I am struggling with is, that if all remedial measures are implemented with utmost professional sincerity and it still fails, leading to such unprovoked industrial violence, then what next?
At Maruti Suzuki, the workers strike last year was instigated only to form a separate union for the Manesar plant and not to be part of the existing union. That rigid irritant too was solved by helping them through the process of formation and registration of a separate union by the company in February 2012. And many other positive initiatives as per their expectations were introduced since October 2011 with total focus on employee engagement and towards building positive employee relations. Communication and mutual personal touch with the union and workmen population in general was implemented with topmost priority. And still we have faced unprecedented violence leading to the tragic death of a capable and positive HR professional like Awanish and seriously injuring hundreds of supervisors & managers, including senior management personnel. Maruti Suzuki, as most of the incumbents say, is a dream company. Awanish too often said that “Maruti Suzuki is a dream job for me”. Then why such violent behavior by some and for what vested interests? Militant attitude or is it something else? Today one thing is for sure – I think I am facing one of the toughest challenges of my professional career spanning 33 years. But I am also determined to deal with it in the toughest but the ‘just way’.
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