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Old 8th September 2012, 22:26   #31
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Another couple of interesting readings I'd like to add here are these-

Both were part of discussions I have had with Professor Rahul Varman of IIT Kanpur regarding this issue.

http://infochangeindia.org/corporate...-foretold.html

http://www.zcommunications.org/under...sar-by-h-singh
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Old 8th September 2012, 22:28   #32
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Don't see any reason for the workers to crib. .
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Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
@Hayek: completely agree with you.
Agree with both you guys. We may crib that the salaries are low but in no way can we accuse maruti to be paying less than what the industry standards are.

During a similar discussion on the other thread, I was tempted to call up my friend who is working with another automobile manufacturer in their Chennai plant and has previously worked with two other manufacturers in Pune too. I asked him the situation there. I was informed that the ratio of temporary workers was always more than the permanent ones in all the companies he worked. His current company pays around 15-18 K per month to a permanent worker and less than 10K per month to a temporary worker.

Very recently there was a strike in Honda two wheeler factory in gurgaon where again the same issues were highlighted. So it is not just Maruti who is paying less, the whole industry pays similar or even lesser.

Infact many Mechanical Egineers with 4-5 years of experience would be working in many plants for some where around 30K a month.

Another friend of mine who works in a tyre manufacturing company once told me an assistant manager in his plant would be earning somewhere around 6 lakhs per annum. A worker who is at most an ITI, earning 20K a month seems not too bad considering these scales.
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Old 8th September 2012, 22:37   #33
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I remember a tv show where Jagdish khattar was being interviewed in the factory. A worker sensed the opportunity & walked up to Khattar & said, "Sir, I have not taken a single leave since last year". This was in 2007 or so when the swift was booming.

But if the worker's were treated so poorly, what stopped them from working in other factories? Why stick on to Maruti only?
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Old 8th September 2012, 22:59   #34
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Well,well,well, it seems to be truly Maruti Sweatshop India Ltd! I don't understand why the govt authorities should bend over backwards to propitiate them. They will never leave India, whatever happens. This is the only real market for their cars. No need to be scared of them or treat them with kid gloves.

I am sure we have not heard the last of this. Things will be quiet for a while and then flare up again.
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Old 8th September 2012, 22:59   #35
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I have intimate knowledge of manufacturing sector and factory working conditions (not auto sector though). Dealing with labor is extremely stressful. But for the headache of dealing with labor, many capable and honest people would have set up their own factories. I know few friends who refused to join their family business because they just hate dealing with labor.

Without strict shift-timings enforcement and supervision, 90% of them won't do their work. They will even harass the remaining 10% that are sincere and want to do work. There will be some people who just want to do "neta-giri" and they are like a virus, can bring the whole shop floor to a grinding halt. They don't want to understand the concept of "market-driven-compensation, etc." They have no hope of getting another job, so their only option is to squeeze their employer by disruption and blackmail. Oh, you can't fire a laborer, it only creates more headache. Dismissal will often lead to violent confrontation and mob fury.

Nobody can crib about compensation - it is market driven, period. But poor working conditions, unfair policies will drive the good people out and create unrest among those who are left behind. Labor unrest is bad news! Hope Maruti Suzuki learns from this mistake and improves working conditions and policies.

This article is hopelessly biased and clearly a wasted effort - it projects the labor as if they wouldn't hurt a fly.
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Old 8th September 2012, 23:04   #36
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Thanks for sharing. But such stories (if I may be excused for calling it so) sounds more of figmented imagination. I am by no way saying that what Maruti did was right neither am I suggesting that what workers did was right. The truth might be somewhere between.

Maruti has been in India since 1980's and doing well. However I fail to see if the management practices were so lopsided would thousands of workers who worked for them then and now would have all taken it lying down. I highly doubt. I seriously doubt if the labour commissioners over the years would have been bought over the management.
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Old 8th September 2012, 23:50   #37
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Nice story to gain sympathies after committing a murder!

I do not know of any sector/profession where the employees do not feel exploited. One of my friend in a bank works more than an average of 12 hours per day! One of the state owned bank deduct a day's salary for coming late.

It is all part of life and it is fair. I mean if I wont do it someone else will do it, if i will not get 100% I may not get admission in my choice of college in Delhi, if I miss it someone else will take it.

And I do not believe that a human can be much forced to work after peeing in his pants. Rubbish!
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Old 8th September 2012, 23:58   #38
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

A good read definitely, but biased too. Nothing surprising, its what I expected knowing it was a "laborer's account" of things at the factory.

If what is mentioned is indeed true, the workers are in a inhumane working environment. Maruti should provide relievers and adequate brakes between sessions. Contract laborers are a way of cutting costs,ethical or not is debatable. If most other companies are enagaged in such practices to cut costs, we need proper laws to protect labour interests.

I don't find anything wrong with the pay though,to put things in perspective, a trainee of a highly reputed profession in India is paid like this during his stint for 3-3.5 years as a trainee:

1st year-1000 per month
2nd year-1250 per month
3rd or 4th year-1500 per month

This is what is prescribed by the governing body, some offices are "kind" enough to pay much more than this but its only in metros. Those in Tier 1,Tier 2 cities get paid according to the prescribed rates. Oh and the working hours are a minimum of 7 hours(lunch and other breaks 1 hour), from 9.30AM to 5.30PM, again prescribed by the governing body

In India,cheap labour is there in more than just factories.

Last edited by shashank.nk : 9th September 2012 at 00:00. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 9th September 2012, 00:11   #39
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post

Nobody can crib about compensation - it is market driven, period. But poor working conditions, unfair policies will drive the good people out and create unrest among those who are left behind. Labor unrest is bad news! Hope Maruti Suzuki learns from this mistake and improves working conditions and policies.

.
On the contrary, it seems to me that compensation is a key issue here.

Is compensation (and working condition) purely market driven? I don't think so. Why are Honda and Toyota different from Suzuki in this respect? Why do other companies pay better, and even the same company does not pay the same or similar in different places. Are Suzuki practices the same in Gurgaon, Manesar, and Japan? I doubt very much.

If work and wages were completely market driven, there would be no need of immigration laws and work permits and quotas (to give an example). We would be able to freely go where we can get best wages and good conditions.

What a company pays or provides depends also on the prevailing law and priorities of the place and also power to use laws in own favor. It depends also on the policies of the company and their strategy. If 'labour unrest' is bad news for the industry, and if indeed `Suzuki learns from mistake and improves working conditions and policies' as you recommend, then the labour unrest would have served a purpose after all. And by labour unrest, I mean the whole thing in totality and not some particular incident, even if tragic and violent.

Everything cannot be condoned in the name of workers' rights. Workers are also responsible for violence. But they alone are not. Company is also responsible and may be the arms of the law too. Apportion blame for violence as you like, but that need not blind us to the whole situation.
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Old 9th September 2012, 00:36   #40
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

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This story looks like the one of a person who has the least motivation to do his job.
.
.
Did this chap not know that he had to fit bolts to every car before signing up for the job?
I guess there is some truth about the work conditions. He mostly complains about machine paced work. It is known to be a major source of stress and dis-satisfaction. In fact, Chaplin mocks the machine paced system in his Modern Times. Remember the feeding machine, for eliminating the lunch hour?



This problem was known 75 years back, yet we have manufacturers employing machine paced processes. Isn't it time auto manufacturers moved to robotic assembly line for all machine paced work, and leave only human paced work to humans?

Those of you who are not sympathetic to the machine paced worker, try it yourself once at your job. Try doing something to pace set by a machine, you will have hard time doing it for more than 10 minute.

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So eloquent and so perfect for a 10th standarder. I pooh pooh the people who question our education system.
It was not written by the auto worker, but by the journalist who got the story from the worker. I hope you are not thinking SHIVAM VIJ is the auto worker.
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Old 9th September 2012, 00:48   #41
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

A few things that came to my mind.

1. There is no way to decide at this point about the amount of truth in the entire narration. Firstly because, this is a one sided viewpoint and that too by someone who does not state his identity for fear of prosecution. Secondly, this might well be a way of trying to gain some sympathy and support when the workers know that their chances of redemption are very slim.

2. Lets consider that what the worker says about the salaries and the working conditions are true. The salaries are not too measly, and the facts stated about the comparison of salaries in 1998 and 2012 seems quite absurd. After all, in 1998 also the management was exploiting them right? How come they were well paid then? Certain points about the working environment, like arriving late, no breaks etc. certainly need to be rectified if they are true, but if the workers are complaining about back-breaking work, then they need to reconsider. If they were back in their villages, they would be working day in day out in the fields, earning 1/3rd of this amount, subject to favourable climate. This is certainly not ideal, but that is a topic for a separate discussion.

3. Now if we consider the possibility that most of what is narrated is true, one cannot help but wonder if such exploitation is even possible, that too by one of the biggest (if not the biggest) player in the market. If all this has been going on for so many years, (in which case it could certainly not have been kept under wraps, considering the sheer number of labourers), I am sure loads of journalists and media persons would have flocked to this issue and made a hot spicy selling story out of it. No offence meant to anyone, but isn't that what the media is best at? How come all of this comes out only now, after all these years? I didn't know that the typical Indian man has such levels of patience and toleration. If these guys thought life was hard at Maruti, they could very well have left and worked elsewhere. And if they thought they wouldn't make secure money elsewhere, then Maruti is paying you well right? What are you complaining about?

Add to this the fact that the post mortem report of the HR guy and the lines in the narration absolutely don't match. Considering all this, appears to me that something is certainly amiss. Each person may draw his/her own views, but this in no way should be taken as the last/assertive word. We do need to hear out the other side of the story in a similar fashion before we begin drawing up conclusions about who is at fault and who is clean.
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Old 9th September 2012, 01:32   #42
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

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This story looks like the one of a person who has the least motivation to do his job. Seriously we all go through exploitation in some form or other in our work place....We all have issues with our seniors/ management. Simple question - what on earth prevented this man to leave and go join any other job. I am sure he would be paid more than 5000 even if he joined as an office boy in any office.

Did this chap not know that he had to fit bolts to every car before signing up for the job? I dont think anyone put a gun to his head to do it, so why complain now. Larger picture of this can be seen in Bengal, where industries are suffering every day (If they have managed to exist till date). Not sure that we will have industries left to fit bolts if we pay heed to these. LASTLY, HE REMEMBERS ALL DATES DETAILS BUT SURPRISINGLY DOESNT KNOW HOW FIRE STARTED.....HATS OFF
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Those of you who are not sympathetic to the machine paced worker, try it yourself once at your job. Try doing something to pace set by a machine, you will have hard time doing it for more than 10 minute.
The problem here with Indian labour is that they will take anything on for a better pay and once settled, start demanding unreasonable benefits.

I agree that it is a mundane, robotic job, BUT if the company proposes to bring in machines to do these machine jobs, who do you think will start the strike ?

We have wonderful political parties to support these strikes against bringing machines to do 'Human" jobs to which in the first place the humans are complaining about.

Haven't we seen these in Banks and other Govt departments ? The moment management/govt starts talking about computerisation and reduction in employment, there is an All India Strike.

Samu, I have dealt with unskilled labour for the last 18 years and I can tell you that they do not have any sense of duty at all, only thing on their mind is to get a fat pay and do very little work and take off for 5-10 days in a month using a variety of excuses ranging from a festival in their village to their relative dying ( for which they need to take 2 days off every week for the next 2 months). Even if you send them out, they will wander for a month or two and then come begging for the same job, and once back, they will continue doing what they did before.

I suppose every one that joins Maruti would have presumed that they have got a Govt job (Which in itself does not entitle anyone to any nonsense) and they can hold the govt to ransom.

I feel this is a very poor attempt by someone to gain sympathy, it is so very far from the fact. I would have understood if that person was actually trying to speak the truth, on the other hand, it seems like he was used by a journo to say something that has been shoved in his mouth. Typical of Indian media and their Journos.
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Old 9th September 2012, 01:38   #43
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

The murder and violence cannot be justified, there are legitimate ways to protest without giving in to violence and murder. The workers must take some responsibility for this.

That's a separate issue as is the work conditions which Maruti must take responsibility for. To me some of these measures sound small minded and driven by ego and zero concern for workers well being, and it will take an expert to decide how much they can lead to productivity gains. Modern management definitely asks for more responsibility and concern for worker well being. Most western economies will have whole books of regulations around this. Assembly line is monotonous all the more reason for management to be creative to dull it and have productive and happy workers.

On one hand we pay more for cars here than in western countries where labour costs are ten fold, as are nearly every other costs along with strict regulation that is implemented, and on the other we have these kind of exploitative practices.

Folks always bring up tax here but there are taxes abroad too, and then volumes but double the price of Civic or Camry in the US and let's see how that impacts volumes. In the end customers pay more, workers get paid less and in the middle there is a story waiting to be unearthed.

Last edited by raul : 9th September 2012 at 01:40.
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Old 9th September 2012, 01:41   #44
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

To be honest - I did not have the courage to read the entire article. Where is the workers tribunal or the Kamgar Aayukt in this case? Something called human rights?

Why is this not shared by our dear media?

iShocked !
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Old 9th September 2012, 01:52   #45
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I am not sure how much truth is there in this report.

1. Issues like no lunch time and two 7 minute tea breaks and NO bio breaks sound ridiculous to me. I am not sure who can run a business like this!

2. Even if issues were there, why did they resort to violence & murder some one? UNACCEPTABLE TO ME, however bad their living conditions are!

3. We used to read too many issues & strikes & factory shut downs in the recent past. If I am not wrong, the murder happened at the 3rd instance of such a strike. If the problems were NOT solved during the first two instances, why did these guys withdraw the strike and get back to work??

They could have been fooled into believing that issues will be resolved and ended the strike on those false promises the first time, but what about second time?? They should have made sure to have the issues sorted out and then joined work!

Also has our media bothered to cover the worker's side yet [am not sure of this]? Did it take 3 strikes and a murder for [one of the] workers to reveal this pity story? What were these guys doing before?

Edit
:: The workers could have filed a petition to the labour commission for bad working conditions. Has any move been made in this direction? The union bearers are supposed to be the educated bunch right?

Last edited by swiftnfurious : 9th September 2012 at 02:03. Reason: Added the "Edit" portion
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