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Cover Story View: Create progressive labor management relationships
To me, what happened at Maruti Suzuki is shocking, unpardonable and human regression at its most deplorable nadir. What we have at hand now is a typical no-win situation, where, on the one hand, matters of the Economy and Local Governance are at stake; on the other, ensuring safety, security and upholding basic human values are critical. To resolve this issue once and for all, with the larger objective of ensuring it does not recur, either at Maruti Suzuki or elsewhere in the country—the authorities need to clinically identify the root cause and the perpetrators, and then deal with them forcefully and surgically.
Those who have conspired and orchestrated this terrible incident have to be brought to book and a clear message sent out—that actions such as these will not be tolerated. Quick and firm resolution of the matter is critical, for lethargy in resolving the matter or soft-pedaling the issue could lead to recurrences.
In any economy, when growth slows down, job creation slows down as well, and unemployed and idle people can end-up catalyzing social unrest, especially if they are misguided by unscrupulous elements, or those with hidden agendas. Furthermore, in today’s context, the Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act of 1970 is an outdated piece of legislation and it is time to recast it to address the needs and issues facing the contemporary Indian industry.
For Maruti Suzuki, an indefinite shut-down will have terrible cascading effects on the company’s corporate image. India, as an investment and business destination, will also take a blow. There is therefore, an urgent need for speed in resolving the issue and bringing the guilty to book.
Maruti Suzuki remains a formidable corporation that has driven India’s automobile economy for decades now, and it is disconcerting and unfair that its current ethics and values are suddenly being questioned. What the people practitioners in the company quickly need to do is to garner larger community support, revisit their policies and people practices, and create a consensus on the same with all concerned parties. In parallel, they need to work with the authorities and bring the guilty to book.
For Indian industries, as a whole, the need to create progressive labor management relationships is imperative for a smoother drive ahead. This is important and an urgent need, particularly so from the HR fraternity’s perspective. More such incidents will all but drive people practitioners away from jobs and livelihoods that they fear could end-up endangering their very lives.
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