[Note: Some newspapers reported that the incident was about Mitsubishi but in fact it was about Mitsuba, not Mitsubishi. I have corrected the title of this blog and also references. Regret error]
In the last fortnight Mitsuba and Pricol made big news. Unfortunately it’s half-truth. Mitsuba made a big news and Pricol went unnoticed! [Shame on you, business journalists!]
That is what happens to the news of violence in industrial relations – it receives wide publicity, and the news of rebuilding industrial relations, which Pricol did, is ignored.
Let me tell you what this is all about.
Read this: “A Human Resources (HR) head at a Japanese company in Gurgaon was shot at by two bike-borne assailants while he was heading to work on Thursday morning, said police. A disgruntled employee, whose services he had terminated “around three months ago”, is suspected to be behind the attack. The suspect, who was employed as an ‘apprentice’, has been arrested along with another person. He had been sacked by the HR manager for ‘unprofessional behaviour’.” [The Life of Labour, The Wire, June 10, 2018]
And here is the second part. Pricol was conferred National Award for Outstanding Industrial Relations (IR) Practices by AIOE [All India Organisation of Employers], an arm of FICCI [Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry].
Yes, Pricol, the same company where the VP-HR lost his life a few years ago in the violence of labour unrest. The event was similar to Mitsuba, or rather Mitsuba event is similar to Pricol.
But if you now study Pricol, there is something to learn for students of industrial relations, and HRM too. The lessons of rebuilding industrial relations. Unfortunately the Press goes after what sells [ONLY] than what matters.
In the eighties and early nineties, Marathi newspapers covered the industrial relations scenario. Once in a week they devoted one full page for the coverage of industrial relations activities. Sharad Chavan ran a column in Maharashtra Times for several years and did a wonderful job of placing critical issues before readers. An in-depth reporting is essential because the narratives which a reporter presents are insightful and help us take a balanced view of the situation. We have read about violence in Maruti and in Pricol. We have not read the narratives of workers, we have not read what were the lessons learnt by the management as well as workers. These voices are lost. People who have not witnessed the textile strike, and I guess they form the majority among the readers of this blog, may like to read the book ‘One hundred years, one hundred voices’ authored by Neera Adarkar and Meena Menon to appreciate my point. We need good coverage and balanced coverage of industrial relations events, but where are the reporters?
All India Organisation of Employers (AIOE) is an allied body of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Delhi. It confers National Award for Outstanding Industrial Relations (IR) Practices in enterprises every year. This year the award winning enterprise is Pricol. Yes, Pricol it is, which came in limelight because of the violence in which their VP-HR lost his life. We as IR functionaries should be happy that Pricol has risen as a phoenix on the employee relations scenario, but has anybody covered the story from all perspectives? There would be so much to learn, it is after all an extreme case of aligning industrial relations imperatives to business strategies.
During the textile strike TISS organised a symposium. Academic activities like this are essential because the symposium culls out learning on issues of policy and practice. With IR events out of public gaze we will lose such important inputs.
Does Pricol story and the lesson it holds mean anything to you CEO and CHRO?
Vivek S Patwardhan