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Old 26th April 2008, 19:23   #1
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Exclamation Are we going back to the pre independence area with different rulers

Is it Covert move of MNCs in handling Indian Trade Unions?
"Korea TU leaders join human chain in Chennai today".
This news item drew my interest. Koreans are welcome to India since they start industries and provide employment to thousands of Indians and in the process also enrich themselves, apart from spraying their domination in administration. The last two acts though of no benefit to India are tolerated as the first is a corollary of their purpose of existence in India and the second we grudge as that also is a corollary of their technical superiority and expertise. Since right from the acquisition of Corus in Europe by the Tata’s, Indians and global Indians have been proving systematically that administration is as much our forte and our expertise in that arena is comparable to the expertise of the prestigious "Indian IT".

With this backdrop I look at the news item on Korean TU leaders. The first question that comes to the mind is, is it another intrusion into our expert territory by the Koreans? If yes what for? It was our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi who taught us the first lesson in the trade union movement and we have veterans galore who took it forward. It started with confronting the British who were the aggressors. Making them accept the TU as a bargaining agent initially and as a partner in progress subsequently was achieved by hard struggle that found comparison to the freedom struggle. TU leaders of today are equally progressive, imaginative and have been responsible as they grew and occupied high positions as members of Parliament and Ministers. One wonders what role the Koreans have to play and what is their locus standi in our issues even if the management of some of the companies has a few Koreans sprinkled in its top hierarchy.
A mere participation by the Koreans in Indian TU activities of the CITU for academic purposes is understandable and also acceptable as we are the renowned forerunners in Settlement of labor issues predominantly through bipartite and tripartite mechanism. CITU equally is a very dominant TU from the communist party who are credited with fetching path breaking judgments like 'Bonus is deferred wage', 'government employees too are eligible for bonus' etc. CITU also of late has realized that the Indian workers in the organized sector now are keen to pride themselves as knowledge workers and stand apart in the global competitive scenario with our products carrying the proud stamp of " Made in India" be it the cars of Hyundai or hosiery products. Hence the role of even the veteran TU organizations like CITU has to be more of a facilitator.
What is the track record of Korean trade unions vis a vis their relation with the management? In Indian system it is open with healthy mutual respect with no conduit of other relationships. Do Multinationals necessarily nurture such healthy values given the backdrop of their history of industrial relation in their own country? Certainly there will be hesitation to say ‘yes’, as the Indian trade unions have grown with the benefit of democratic values which is not necessarily the case in many of the countries from where multinationals have spread wings.
Coming specifically to the issue of Hyundai the company in the news item, the company since inception has produced one million cars in a decade and without a trade union! The fact that the cars have found continuous export market add weight to the question, does the company need a trade union? Yet the same employees who in a silent yet successful revolution achieved such performance have now chosen to look towards CITU, it calls for introspection. While the management has to look inward and introspect the CITU also needs to look back at its history. What they have achieved as a trade union is amazing that many organizations value labor as a quality partner in progress, and they now have greater role to play in the unorganized sector.

Yet when workers of a prestigious company chose to rely on them for their maiden attempt in unionization, they do have a role to play. But in their playing the role, the intrusion of Koreans on their side who otherwise are the opponents in the table of negotiation, one is afraid may dilute their strength. It is also a matter of national pride for Indians to uphold the maxim 'we are capable to handle our issues'. With incomparable expertise in administration, we do have non Indians trying to rule us in the corporate world through their superior technology. Trade unions do not have such inhibiting factors that they have to be subjected to the domination of outsiders, especially when the company says outsiders are not required in their union. Therefore given the background of trade union/industrial relation culture in native countries of most of the multinationals, Indian TUs need to be wary of invisible game plan to wrest TU leadership from Indians.
It is time the Indian trade unions especially the path breakers like CITU remember that as we did at the time of initial days, it is the national spirit that should guide and decide matters of employee welfare and working conditions in Indian industries even if the investment and technology are not fully ours. Fully ours always is the national pride.

Last edited by ajmat : 26th April 2008 at 20:01.
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Old 27th April 2008, 07:59   #2
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In the modern day industry scenario, management functions as well as workplace conditions are audited in the interest of the companies themselves to stay in the game. The audit firms are far more qualified than a handful of people trying to draw a parallel with other forms of industries.

Not that it eliminates every grievance, but still, its a lot better than having a TU influence/decide promotions for its aligned candidates.

This needs to be moved to a different section. Here we discuss leadership amongst things with wheels.

Last edited by 1100D : 27th April 2008 at 08:01.
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