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Old 7th September 2012, 12:28   #1
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Default The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I came across this detailed piece with a lot of history on worker's problem in Maruti - from a worker's point of view.

Click here for Full Article

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Manesar has been much in the news, with worker violence being blamed for the disruptions in production. Not so, say the workers who claim it’s part of a management plan to scuttle their efforts to form a union.

My name is… let that be. Maruti Suzuki is out to get me, not because I did anything but because they want to put virtually every worker in jail, even those who belonged to the third shift and were not even present when violence took place in the Manesar factory on 18 July. I was present there and will tell you what happened, but to understand it you will have to let me begin from the beginning.

“ If a worker’s task is to add a brake and pedal, then that’s what you do all day, with 8-10 bolts in every car, car after car, 40 seconds per car. The result is a bit like a dance move, the same move, non-stop for eight hours. The Manesar plant, I am sure, is the world’s fastest car production facility. The conveyor belt doesn’t really stop, we move with it ”

I am 26 years old. I come from a village in Panipat. My father is a daily wage labourer. After finishing class 10 in a government school, I enrolled at the Panipat Industrial Training Institute (ITI). After two years of learning to handle machines at the ITI, I joined Maruti’s Gurgaon plant as an apprentice in 2006. The apprenticeship lasts a year. I was anxious before I first entered the plant, because I knew many from Panipat who have done that before, and they all used to say there’s so much work, and it’s such heavy work, you won’t be able to do it. I was determined to prove them wrong. I soon realised what they meant, the work pressure can’t be described, it has to be experienced.

Last edited by GTO : 8th September 2012 at 16:08. Reason: Adding excerpt and taking live
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Old 8th September 2012, 16:09   #2
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Thread taken live. Thanks for sharing, Jhaji! This is a MUST-READ
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:09   #3
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

If this is true it is definitely exploitation. I also think that Maruti might not be the only company doing this but many more organizations across different sectors must be having similar scenario. Sad.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:17   #4
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Indeed and excellent account of the working conditions inside the factory walls of Maruti Suzuki plant at Manesar. I feel unionism is not a bad thing from an employee perspective. There is always a fear that it may get dirty because of vested interests, petty politics, and ego clashes (after all we'r dealing with multi-billion dollar automobile market of india). Definitely there are some employee un-friendly policies going on at Maruti Suzuki factory, which is why labour laws and employee union are must. However, as I mentioned my fear for trade unionism, I would rather like the industry to take pro-active employee friendly measures.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:34   #5
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

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Last edited by GTO : 10th September 2012 at 10:54.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:36   #6
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I have not read a more bogus account of the whole episode. I could write a similar write up about how oppressive and Idiotic my last IT company was. I can also elaborate how temp staff (hired BSc graduates) are paid very less and exploited. I have also faced issues with thick skulled management trying to cut corners in every damn place to save money.

If they were being oppressed by Maruti, they could leave anytime. Most of the experienced staff in Maruti is paid very well. The issue is with temp staff, most of who are not even graduates and are mostly unskilled. They are hired and trained by Maruti on job to work low end things on the factory. The permanent employees of Maruti are generally happy and have a union.

Yes maybe maruti was stalling talks with union. But temp workers without provocation, started vandalizing the place. The HR manager who died in fire had scores of fractures on his legs and rest of the body. He was beaten to pulp before he got burnt beyond recognition. He was identified by a gold tooth in his mouth by his family.

And yes, it's totally believable that a mysterious short circuit happened at the same instant when these vandals were beating up management people with pillars and beams of car.

Salary, management, supervisor issues exist in every company and every setup. I have no respect for people who resort to violence and rowdism against innocent. They should be prosecuted, as is currently being done by Maruti.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:37   #7
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Shocking! Lalaji making his mandi workers sleep on jute sheets, and feeding them half meals is well known. But India's biggest automaker, apparently the harbringer of the Japanese work culture, systematically destroying their workers is quite another. This article should be made a must-read.
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Old 8th September 2012, 17:48   #8
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

wow.
just shows how much is left unsaid of any issue.
however there are a couple of inconsistencies in the narration.
the major one is about the killed HR-manager Late. Mr.Avanish
his postmortem report clearly states that he was severely beaten and had multiple fractures.
Second inconsistency is about the pay scale. they all say that they were being underpaid but for a person with just vocational training and no formal degree the payscale seems adequate. i mean they say that daily wage earners do better but is that really the case(please correct me if I am wrong).
and finally how different is the situation in other car companies.
also a decade ago there were massive protests in the USA due to increased mechanization of the production line and people were employed only to track the work of the robots. is that not possible in india?
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:06   #9
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

I knew this was the root cause of the issue but am shocked to see that the so-called "process oriented" Japanese are such slave masters too.

Is this the way plants/factories work in Japan too? An insight of the working conditions there would be an apt comparison.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:18   #10
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Lets face it - every profession will have targets and they are almost always difficult to achieve or, you go through several hardhips to achieve them - a Sales person is out on the roads always, with untimely food, there are people who live out of hotels almost each week, there are people in call centres who have targets for the number of calls, closed calls, abandoned calls etc..etc..and all these are picked up in daily meetings. So is the case with car manufacturers - they have targets for the # of cars to produce a day.

We have only seen one side of the story, and it appears to be a propaganda from the Union.

There always is a conflict / tough conversations / decisions that keeps hapenning when it comes to contract labour - be it in manufacturing or in ITES companies. But, getting a human being killed in his own work place - gosh, difficult to digest indeed. No matter what, there should not have been violence at all.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:18   #11
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

About the monotony issue with the work and how even you cannot waste 1 second, this is true with all assembly line work. Read 'Wheels' by Arthur Hailey to get to know how assembly line jobs are tremendously monotonous and super fast paced even if it may not look so to someone who observing it. The monotony also leads to drug use by assembly line workers. Also watch Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times' to see how an assembly line works - you can actually see Charlie doing what the worker has stated.

Assembly lines have to be designed without consideration of time required to scratch your back. Because each worker's back is going to itch at a different time. Hence all the would others have to wait when every other worker scratches his back if the assembly line design had to consider this.

Of course, bathroom, lunch, tea breaks should be given sufficiently.

About the pay issue - Henry Ford who practically invented the assembly line for automobile manufacturing had a very different philosophy. The assembly line was created to cut costs and it did it massively. However Ford's philosophy was that the cars should be cheap enough and the workers should be paid well enough so that each of his employee is a customer for his car. And that's what lead to the auto boom in the USA.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harshaguduru View Post
also a decade ago there were massive protests in the USA due to increased mechanization of the production line and people were employed only to track the work of the robots. is that not possible in india?
In India, I think cost of labour isn't high enough to be replaced by robots - except where the job is dangerous or requires the kind of precision not possible by humans. For unskilled jobs, the breakeven point for robots is still not reached.

Last edited by carboy : 8th September 2012 at 18:28.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:28   #12
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

What an excellent article. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Also sharing this on my twitter & facebook timelines. Even if it has a bit of fabricated details, the story can't be completely false. It has to go as much viral as possible before it gets taken down or something of that sort happens.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:39   #13
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Quote:
Don’t we have families to feed, children to send to school? While Avanish Kumar’s death is being used to show the workers as murderers, when two workers died in the 2000 movement, there was no hullabaloo and there has been no investigation, no justice.

Yes, the workers broke the CCTV cameras at 7 p.m. but its recording is stored elsewhere. Why can’t they show us what happened till 7 p.m.? Because they themselves switched off the CCTV cameras at 11 a.m. so that their calling in of bouncers is not recorded.
Seems to be scary, and first thought is - why not? The management would have definitely done such things.

Anyway, these guys too have a point. Some small section of people (Govt, labour ministry, management etc) are taking them for a ride for sure.

Good luck guys.

Last edited by mjothi : 8th September 2012 at 18:41.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:45   #14
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

A narration that lucidly explains how men are converted into machines sans feelings.

Though the veracity of the fire in the factory episode can be contested, the rest of the article sounds true.
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Old 8th September 2012, 18:45   #15
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Default Re: The Maruti Way : Worker's side of the story

Even if there is 50% truth in there, its pretty shameful. Especially because its not some mom-pop small-medium business enterprise but a world class industrial group!

Those quickly dismissing this write up drawing parallels to IT industry are only trivializing the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
I knew this was the root cause of the issue but am shocked to see that the so-called "process oriented" Japanese are such slave masters too.

Is this the way plants/factories work in Japan too? An insight of the working conditions there would be an apt comparison.
Japanese culture reeks of hierarchy! But i'm sure that the labour law is implemented in spirit unlike our laws which have been specifically designed to suit the managements.
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