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Old 9th September 2012, 01:56   #46
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Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Don't see any reason for the workers to crib. A young uneducated kid gets a permanent job paying Rs. 15,000 per month for an 8 hour day. Yes the work is hard, but that's how assembly lines are. I don't know if many Team BHPians are old enough to have read Sputnik, the Soviet equivalent of Reader's Digest. But there was once an article in it where a Soviet worker talked of similar conditions in a US auto plant in the early 1980s. This is clearly not a reason for murder, which is what the Maruti workers committed. If they don't like the work, they are free to quit and go back to their villages, where they would get 1/4 of that income for 12 hours of back breaking work in the fields. The fact is that India has plenty of unskilled labour, and until India gets much richer, unskilled labour cannot expect more. As recently as in the mid 2000s, some of the large investment banks in India used to hire CAs and IIT graduates as trainees for Rs. 15,000 per month - and get those kids to work 100 hour weeks on a regular basis. So don't see why an ITI qualified person should crib about a 3 year training stint.
I'm surprised that you justify the exploitation cause it happened elsewhere/USA too. Does back breaking work mean not being allowed to pee & drink water?
And again, comparing IIT grads to ITI grads and saying why don't you quit to find another job if you dont like it simply shows that its argument for the sake of argument. Basically indicates apathy towards those who haven't had an opportunity at good education or financial security.
And why should it be always about money? There is something called dignity of labour. Pay me Rs.5 cause thats what you can give & i can demand but that doesn't give any one the right to belittle my skills, qualifications, opinions.
What you say is that you are ok with years of exploitation where thousands of families suffer but now you suddenly fault the people who were pushed into a corner and are hitting back.
Nobody supports killing but there was none for 20yrs and now when there is, it better be investigated. Not just as a crime but something more symptomatic of what ails Indian industry. Instead of demanding fair trade practices, quoting India's population as an excuse for exploiting labour is even beyond capitalism.

Last edited by Nilesh5417 : 9th September 2012 at 02:00.
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Old 9th September 2012, 06:17   #47
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Originally Posted by Nilesh5417
I'm surprised that you justify the exploitation cause it happened elsewhere/USA too. Does back breaking work mean not being allowed to pee & drink water?
And again, comparing IIT grads to ITI grads and saying why don't you quit to find another job if you dont like it simply shows that its argument for the sake of argument. Basically indicates apathy towards those who haven't had an opportunity at good education or financial security.
And why should it be always about money? There is something called dignity of labour. Pay me Rs.5 cause thats what you can give & i can demand but that doesn't give any one the right to belittle my skills, qualifications, opinions.
.
.
Nobody supports killing but there was none for 20yrs and now when there is, it better be investigated. Not just as a crime but something more symptomatic of what ails Indian industry. Instead of demanding fair trade practices, quoting India's population as an excuse for exploiting labour is even beyond capitalism.
@Nilesh: I can't agree more with you.
For those who are sceptical about the facts behind this or shocked why no mainstream media hasn't reported workers PoV, check the link below. This article was published in Nov,2011 and it had clearly underlined the issues raised in the other article mentioned in TS's post. This article back then reminded me of Foxconn stories of China and I was sure the issue would crop up again but never did I imagine it turning so ugly.
Imho, Suzuki is as guilty as those culprit workers for the death of the manager.
And did You all know that when Mr. Osamu Suzuki visited India for a week or so, he had no time to visit the family of Mr.Kumar(its not everyday an employee dies in your shop floor). This is despite him visiting all political leaders of state and centre and staying only 20mins or so away from the family's residence.
Gone in 50 seconds!

Dare I say this but to me, Suzuki is India's New Evil Empire.
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Old 9th September 2012, 07:13   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilesh5417

I'm surprised that you justify the exploitation cause it happened elsewhere/USA too. Does back breaking work mean not being allowed to pee & drink water?
. Instead of demanding fair trade practices, quoting India's population as an excuse for exploiting labour is even beyond capitalism.
You are entitled to your views, but clearly have not had the opportunity to study how assembly lines work or how capitalism works for that matter. I don't see anything in Maruti's labour practices that was unusual for assembly line jobs. Fair trade practices are those which are consented too by willing parties - as long as some workers (and workers in Gurgaon are clearly willing to accept these practices) are willing to accept these practices, Maruti has the right to follow them. There are some who think our labour laws are too loose in allowing such behaviour - let me assure you that India has the most management unfriendly and permanent labour friendly laws in the whole world - and they are the reason why India has not emerged as a manufacturing hub as Chinese costs rise.

When I was in IIM Calcutta, we did a case study of a global Cookie Chain, where workers in individual shops were monitored through IT and controlled from HQ. I found it shocking then (clearly one of the reason why you should work before an MBA). But after having seen how manufacturing works over the last 2 decades from the vantage point of an outside observer, let me assure you that it is a hard, unsentimental world out there.

Cheers.

Last edited by Hayek : 9th September 2012 at 07:19.
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Old 9th September 2012, 07:25   #49
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Originally Posted by Nilesh5417 View Post
I'm surprised that you justify the exploitation cause it happened elsewhere/USA too. Does back breaking work mean not being allowed to pee & drink water?
And again, comparing IIT grads to ITI grads and saying why don't you quit to find another job if you dont like it simply shows that its argument for the sake of argument. Basically indicates apathy towards those who haven't had an opportunity at good education or financial security.
And why should it be always about money? There is something called dignity of labour. Pay me Rs.5 cause thats what you can give & i can demand but that doesn't give any one the right to belittle my skills, qualifications, opinions.
What you say is that you are ok with years of exploitation where thousands of families suffer but now you suddenly fault the people who were pushed into a corner and are hitting back.
Nobody supports killing but there was none for 20yrs and now when there is, it better be investigated. Not just as a crime but something more symptomatic of what ails Indian industry. Instead of demanding fair trade practices, quoting India's population as an excuse for exploiting labour is even beyond capitalism.
wow, that escalated quickly.
But the true meaning of his post hasnt been appreciated here.

a) the article clearly stated that he was hired as a trainee for a period of 2-3 years during which he has very well seen the nature of the work and he has chosen to join.

b) about honda/ toyota paying better and having better work environment: comparing the fit and finish of both vehicles shows the quality of work.
if honda sold volumes like MSIL can they afford the labour prices. Do we all, not crib about the overpricing of cars that do not come from hyundai, Mahindra and MSIL.

c) if maruti sells 15lakh cars a year and has a net profit of about 1500-2500 crores the margins across the model range are just about 10000Rs a car( about 2-5%) Agreed this is due money spent in R&D and others but bottom line is bottom line.

d) if the company bus reaches atleast half hour before work time and morning exercises take 15minutes why is there even a 1second delay in punching.
Aaahh that is where the beauty of indian unskilled labour lies (socializing or tobacco/smoke break)
why would a company resort to such a strict time control unless they faced major issues with tardiness.

e) @40sec for a car on the line a ten second delay by the worker will cramp production by 25%.

f) such a big deal is being made out of loo breaks. if everyone gets 2 tea breaks and a lunch break in an 8 hour period cant we maintain that much discipline. ( sickness is another matter)

g) labour/workforce will always criticize management and policy is never perfect. i see tons of Software engineers earning 6-8lakh a year complain about brutal working conditions but thats why you get paid to do it.

h) in an ideal utopian society both management and workforce will be satisfied but thats a pipe dream. compromises have to exist.

i) a man was killed and over a 100 injured in the carnage. property worth a couple of hundred CRORE was destroyed. How can MSIL recoup the losses without extracting more profit per person?

h) what irked me the most about your post was the line about belittling qualifications. when the job involves tightening nuts on a car even one nut wrongly placed will kill the driver/passengers. As a doctor when i screw up I expect to be held responsible. Poor work has nothing to do with qualifications.
when a man who is trained to fit nuts fails to do his job properly he has to realise the enormity of his mistakes.
belittling someone on basis of faith/caste is different matter and people who indulge in this should be shot IMHO.
for the long post
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Old 9th September 2012, 08:32   #50
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I have worked at the Nissan plant in Sunderland, UK, where Nissan used to build the Micra and now Qashqai. I worked as part of my internship on the engine and drivetrain section. Its called the marriage bay as the engine is mounted onto the chassis.

I found mounting the petrol engine easy but mounting the 1.5 dci was always tricky. The conveyor belt moved giving me a 25 second job time on each car. Had two 10 minute bathroom breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. In my initial days my supervisors were extremely patient as I used to stop the conveyor belt quite often. Most of the time if I have missed it my supervisor will complete the job himself. When the production is heavy the line moves pretty quick and in an assembly line we cannot be laid back. Dancing to the tune of your conveyor belt is a universal phenomenon and not just unique to MSIL as the writer makes out to be. Yeah it is monotonous but there's nothing much a company can do when they have to stick to tight deadlines. Having said that, labour laws are pretty good in the UK and Nissan always stuck to timing which was perfect for all of us. For OT, we receive double pay by the hour!
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Old 9th September 2012, 08:36   #51
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

While providing a rare insight into the other side of the story, the overall scenario seems to be typical to the manufacturing industry in India, that I've seen in some measure: an alienated management that is distrusted and worker unions that are seen as antagonist, with a seemingly unscaleable wall of suspicion between the two sides.

As this country wages war with itself on other fronts thus preventing its true success on the international arena, government-driven labor reforms need to be right at the top of the agenda, if India were to ever want congenial, productive and mutually beneficial working environments for all in industries.

Last edited by theMAG : 9th September 2012 at 08:39.
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Old 9th September 2012, 09:05   #52
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

The main issue is - what is the truth about the violence which resulted in the death of an executive? Where is the footage from the security cameras?

As far as working conditions go - I remember when my younger brother joined a MNC bank after post graduate education from overseas, he was told by his boss and I quote "There is a time a when you get to work. When it comes to leaving work, you ensure your work gets done then you leave for the day". Real life is never easy. If that is the Maruti workers grouse, then they are welcome to explore other alternatives.

If Maruti is violating labour laws, the solution does not lie in violence. The solution is in approaching the relevant administrative and legal forums. Yes I am aware, we are a country of corrupt administrators and workers will find the fight for their rights to be a tough fight. Thankfully we do have a judiciary which is by and large mindful of the citizens' rights under the laws on the statute books. So even if the administrative forums dealing with labour laws are not fair with the case judicial review would get them justice. A company that claims to be a model employer and engages in rampant exploitation would be in target sights of the national level labour unions. They would have been more than willing to stand by and support the Maruti workforce for their rights.

The other day I was reading about how Maruti buys influence by using local political functionaries as contractors. IF that is true then it makes me wonder why does a company engaged in best practices need to do this.

Obviously just as the Maruti workers are not the hopelessly exploited victims they are making themselves out to be, Maruti Suzuki is NOT the model corporate entity that it would like to project itself as.
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Old 9th September 2012, 09:19   #53
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

After going through about half the article, I think this issue has many sides. I have read the book "The Maruti Story" by R C Bhargava, MSIL chairman, and I have been fortunate enough to learn some of the Japanese work culture ("Made In Japan" is another excellent book to read, written by a co-founder of Sony). It simply doesn't seem true that the Maruti management would be so inhuman as to forbid water drinking breaks during the work hours. At the same time if the incidents of finger-pointing during the morning sessions are true, it also means the junior management at Maruti hasn't probably digested all the Japanese principles of management.

While it's never possible for me to verify all the things said by the Maruti management and the Maruti workers, in this case I shall definitely side with the management. I am only too familiar with the Indian way of working and there are many common complaints found in that article which really are pointless if you are running a company like Maruti Suzuki.
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Old 9th September 2012, 09:49   #54
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

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The other day I was reading about how Maruti buys influence by using local political functionaries as contractors. IF that is true then it makes me wonder why does a company engaged in best practices need to do this.
Every major industry in India needs to do this. I am not condoning it. unfortunately the cancer known as corruption and kick-backs has welded itself into every aspect of our day to day lives. which is the primary reason why big industry is yet to flourish successfully india( i mean compared to china, africa and japan)


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Obviously just as the Maruti workers are not the hopelessly exploited victims they are making themselves out to be, Maruti Suzuki is NOT the model corporate entity that it would like to project itself as.
every company even one that specialises in making poison would project itself as a model company. will an industrial company ever have the work environment of a GOOGLE?
not possible.


What is clear though is that at these pay scale levels, it is well within reach for MSIL permanent employees to afford a car ( or am i wrong?).
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:02   #55
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

The truth is the Management irrespective of company always tries to put its employees to limits. Get the maximum work with minimum salaries. The work salary ratio depends on the availability of manpower of that intellect. In India people of working class are more. So why pay them more if you can get the job done at a lower price. It may sound shrewd but it is what it is (The market drive). Not just in Maruti but everywhere else. They are not forcing anyone to stay and work. So if you dont like it, QUIT.

The working conditions described here are probably true. It can be easily validated by asking any maruti employee in a production line. But blaming the management for the death of GM and making the story up for management vs workers seems unreasonable and one sided. The word "BOUNCERS" in Maruti is new to me. Why would MAruti hire bouncers if they can have the police?

Last edited by Eddy : 9th September 2012 at 18:36. Reason: Lets not generalise things.
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:07   #56
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i see tons of Software engineers earning 6-8lakh a year complain about brutal working conditions
While it is providing for food, home and providing for children for the labour class out there, it is upgrading the lifestyle for the upper middle class IT people out there. So let's stop comparing peanuts with apples.

Last edited by ramzsys : 9th September 2012 at 10:09.
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:07   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RS_DEL
The main issue is - what is the truth about the violence which resulted in the death of an executive? Where is the footage from the security cameras?

As far as working conditions go - I remember when my younger brother joined a MNC bank after post graduate education from overseas, he was told by his boss and I quote "There is a time a when you get to work. When it comes to leaving work, you ensure your work gets done then you leave for the day". Real life is never easy. If that is the Maruti workers grouse, then they are welcome to explore other alternatives.

If Maruti is violating labour laws, the solution does not lie in violence. The solution is in approaching the relevant administrative and legal forums. Yes I am aware, we are a country of corrupt administrators and workers will find the fight for their rights to be a tough fight. Thankfully we do have a judiciary which is by and large mindful of the citizens' rights under the laws on the statute books. So even if the administrative forums dealing with labour laws are not fair with the case judicial review would get them justice. A company that claims to be a model employer and engages in rampant exploitation would be in target sights of the national level labour unions. They would have been more than willing to stand by and support the Maruti workforce for their rights.

The other day I was reading about how Maruti buys influence by using local political functionaries as contractors. IF that is true then it makes me wonder why does a company engaged in best practices need to do this.

Obviously just as the Maruti workers are not the hopelessly exploited victims they are making themselves out to be, Maruti Suzuki is NOT the model corporate entity that it would like to project itself as.
The world is different shades of 'grey ' NOT black and white.

If we try to make any side purely white and the other purely black,we are foolish in this pursuit.

It is Machiavellian forces at work, both sides experienced in the game and trying to extract maximum from the other by whatever means possible.

And this will continue forever, the goal should be to make sure the hostilities get resolved on the negotiating table.

Utopian views favouring one side or the other are misplaced.
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:15   #58
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Don't see any reason for the workers to crib. A young uneducated kid gets a permanent job paying Rs. 15,000 per month for an 8 hour day. Yes the work is hard, but that's how assembly lines are. I don't know if many Team BHPians are old enough to have read Sputnik, the Soviet equivalent of Reader's Digest. But there was once an article in it where a Soviet worker talked of similar conditions in a US auto plant in the early 1980s. This is clearly not a reason for murder, which is what the Maruti workers committed. If they don't like the work, they are free to quit and go back to their villages, where they would get 1/4 of that income for 12 hours of back breaking work in the fields. The fact is that India has plenty of unskilled labour, and until India gets much richer, unskilled labour cannot expect more. As recently as in the mid 2000s, some of the large investment banks in India used to hire CAs and IIT graduates as trainees for Rs. 15,000 per month - and get those kids to work 100 hour weeks on a regular basis. So don't see why an ITI qualified person should crib about a 3 year training stint.

Of course the government can come in and say don't have such conditions, or pay people more - but that will have consequences. Today, India has become the hub for small car production for Suzuki,, Hyundai, Renault Nissan et al. If our labour costs rise, people will still produce for the Indian market but production for export will shift, and more automation will be brought in even for the production that remains. Net result, hiring for the next generation of ITI graduates will stop, and the only way for progress for the next generation of Indian youth will cease.

If you want to see the unintended consequences of stupid government intervention, look no further than what has happened after the AP government's crackdown on MFIs. Instead of paying "usurious" rates of 2.5% per month to MFIs, people are now paying 6-7% per month to money lenders. And instead of soft pressure from their neighbours to repay, I am willing to bet that they face much direr consequences as has been amply depicted in several movies from the 1960s.

BTW, the article was by Shivam Vij. Not surprising coming from him - he is the classic arm chair socialist.
Exactly!!! .. I feel that the article is biased.

From the reportage: "We saw Avanish Kumar climb down the stairs before we exited the gates.". I think the union has hired some high profile consultant / lawyer, and this whole story is directed by that person
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:22   #59
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it also means the junior management at Maruti hasn't probably digested all the Japanese principles of management.
Well, a point. When Suzuki has set-up a plant in India, and when bulk of their business comes from this country, why would Indians "digest" this "Japanese principles of management"?

If an Indian were to set up a plant in China, as is being done by many, do the Chinese "digest" Indian principles, or is it the other way round?

It was an ugly incident at Manesar, probably both sides were to be blamed. But one thing is clear, at least a section of the labour force was not happy. It's not only about the compensation package (which probably is adequate), it's also about dignity of labour and keeping your own work-force happy, isn't it?

The question that arises again is this "Japanese" principles. Well, can Suzuki afford to dump Indian "principles" (whatever that is) and leave India? It cannot, because, despite the Japanese tag, Suzuki's main business comes from this country and they stand no-where in the rest of the world.

So can't we expect at least some humane gestures from Suzuki as well?

And forget about robotics, Suzuki will never do that as that requires lots of investment and they are cost conscious people because they adhere to "Japanese principles". Cheap labour force is the way to go for them. In a way, this helps us too, because automation curbs employment, which is not good for our economy.
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Old 9th September 2012, 10:24   #60
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While it is providing for food, home and providing for children for the labour class out there, it is upgrading the lifestyle for the upper middle class IT people out there. So let's stop comparing peanuts with apples.
Im afraid you've misunderstood my post. its not about social class or necessities.
the crux of the matter is that management and workstaff rarely work in harmony.
a shopkeeper who earn 10k a month and works 6am-10pm daily without break will do it of his own accord. But give him 20k and ask him to follow orders of the management from 9am-5pm he shall rebel.
in that way an IITian and ITIian are similar. the platform is bigger and pay packages are larger but management and workforce have to exist with compromises. True harmony is extremely rare.
I hope my point is clearer now?
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