Driving Positive Work Ethos
The recent Meru strike brings forth interesting issues – one of the nature of contractual relationship and the other of providing leadership. The strike has ended and Meru cabs will be plying now but I will not be surprised if it is an uneasy truce.
An interesting fact which Mumbaikars perhaps do not know is that Meru does not ‘employ’ drivers. There is no employer-employee relationship between Meru and Drivers – the drivers are actually independent contractors who have hired a Meru asset – cab – on rent. If we appreciate this nature of relationship we will also realise that the regular route of dispute settlement under The Industrial Disputes Act 1947 is not available to them.
A driver or DSE as he is called in Meru parlance is probably unable to conceive of any other mode of relationship with an organisation like Meru. So there are demands like ‘weekly holiday’ which just do not fit into the scheme of things because a Meru driver can ply his cab as and when he likes.
The driver’s perceptions can be understood considering their level of education, but what about their leaders? This is what the news reports said, “Swabhiman Sanghatna, led by industries minister Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh, which is heading the section of the drivers, is adamant. “The drivers will remain on strike till the company absorbs the terminated drivers without any conditions,” said KK Tiwari, president, taxi-auto wing of the organisation.” Would it be unreasonable to expect the foreign MBA degree holder Nitesh Rane to appreciate the business realities and legal framework?
The radio taxi service is unfortunately not declared as an ‘essential service’ but its importance should not be lost on anybody, much less to the leaders. A responsible leadership must strive to find solutions within the framework of accepted principles. Employing violence to garner public and political support is an age old tactic which the public is tired of. Issuing threats has become a favourite pastime of self styled leaders. It gets tolerated because the Government of Maharashtra is choosing to ignore it, both out of nepotism and timidity. What otherwise explains the fact that miscreants who have damaged dozens of Meru cabs have gone scot free?
Violence is the easiest option to solve a dispute, and the easiest option is often not the right choice. We need leaders, not just educated, but learned and who can resolve differences without transgressing the bounds of law. Encouraging a positive work ethos is the need of the hour; the society will pay a heavy price for ignoring it.
Very true… I totally agree with view point expressed in Article. Its kind of hand-twisting tactic resorted by politically backed so called Labour Leader (I doubt whether they are fitting in any labour Law as 'Workmen').
God may bless Governance of IR Machinery…
Sir, very rightly shared by you of an instance of industry which has risen at fast paced over last 5 years.Firstly, Meru is just the tip of iceberg of disputes in this domain.Secondly external customer focus at the cost of internal customer focus is not a right business approach, a trade off is reqd.Thirdly overlooking these IR concerns may be a cost hit to Meru in terms of psychology costs,hiring costs, non availability etc which may dent its good image formed as of now
Really cool. Meru Cabs sent me a free travel voucher and a box of chocolates, as they could not take my cab booking during the 3 day strike in October.