Pune industrialists seem to pick important days to down the shutters without warning and delivering shocks to their employees. We published how Racold closed down on Diwali 2018 and now we see Kalyani Technoweld P Ltd. adopting the same way.
On 31st December all workers, workers of Kalyani Technoweld woke up to the messages from Cosmos Bank. Some of them realised that their bank accounts to which the Company usually credited their salaries, were credited a much higher amount than their salary. When they enquired, they realised that it was the retrenchment compensation and notice pay; meaning that they had lost their jobs!
The management of the company had asked workers to take a day off on Dec 31 citing no demand for their products, and that they will be paid fully for this absence. That the sudden closure was actually carefully planned should be clear to any reader.
There are 53 workers at this company, and they were stopped at the gate. Security was beefed up and a police van was parked nearby as abundant caution. They were told that the company has closed down the operations, and they will not be allowed entry.
Originally employees of Kalyani Technoforge, some employees were asked to join Kalyani Technoweld, promising better future. That was in 2014. The present workforce is thus drawn from parent company. The average age is about 40 years, so the workers have a gloomy future ahead. Education of children, loans are major concerns, so also looking after the ageing parents. In effect lives of two hundred persons are directly affected, actually hard hit, if we count a family of four.
Many workers found that the Cosmos Bank and Bhagini Nivedita Bank have deducted the entire outstanding loan from the dues (retrenchment compensation and notice pay), leaving nothing, absolutely nothing, in the hands of the retrenched workers. The situation is so hopeless that one worker reportedly threatened to commit suicide and had to be counselled, and pacified. Union officials say that almost 80% workers had outstanding loans of various amounts.
The union officials mentioned that while they have been retrenched, contract workers have been employed to carry out their work.
It is surprising that workers who have had long service with the company, have been thrown out to fend for themselves by a renowned company belonging to Kalyani Group! Amit Kalyani who is a graduate of Bucknell University and also of Harvard, is said to be in charge of the operations of this company.
The parent company boasts of values, among them are: Respect for Every Individual, Performing with Passion and Building Mutual Trust. Values are always tested on the anvil of critical moments in the history, like the present situation.
Contrast this against the philosophy of Govindbhai Dholakia, the highly enlightened entrepreneur of SRK Exports. He is studied only up to 7th standard but it is irrelevant, rather he has made it irrelevant by his highly evolved humane approach to all issues. Here is an excerpt from his interview. (Read the full story here)
In 2008 we were hit by recession. Very bad it was. The prices fell almost by 30%. What was 100 became 70, and it was sudden. But we did not retrench employees. We were one of the two or three companies which did not retrench employees. We employed about 6000 persons. Our senior team including some of my family members told me that we must retrench 3000 employees.
I had never done that…. I told them don’t worry, Diwali vacation is approaching, why spoil their Diwali? Please wait till the festivities are over….After that I will do whatever you say…. I always agree 100% first with people and then I influence them to look my way…..After Diwali the situation slightly improved, and they said we must reduce 1500 employees….I said okay but please make a list of people whose services are to be terminated…..They made a list and then said this man is a good worker, that man has family difficulty, this worker is a relative and so on… and the list got cut down to 500. I told them that this is less than 10% of our employees so retrenchment is no issue any longer!
We get things wrong when we think that the balance sheet represents the wealth of the organisation. It does not. The real wealth is in relationship. It is in the culture.
More than a hundred workers wrote to me saying they appreciated the situation in which the organisation was. Several of them offered to work at reduced rate, several of them offered to do extra work. Here are the letters…..you can see for yourself.
ME: “Govindkaka I wish to ask you a question…. Actually I think I know the answer yet I would like to ask you….. Because managers trained abroad will see this as unnecessary cost…what have you to say?”
“I agree with them completely. It is a huge cost. But they are ignoring the benefit… it far exceeds the cost!”
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Why did Kalyanis act out of fear? Why can’t they show greater sensitivity to people who have worked with them for a long time? Can we not expect fairness at the hands of well-educated Amit Kalyani? Do they understand that ‘fairness’ involves values, (which are sorely missing here,) and being ‘just’ a mere statutory compliance? Can the workers expect that the Company will abide by their professed values?
The workers have lost hopes. They have only a legal battle before them, the Government policies are so unsupportive to them. And who will pay for the legal battle?
The welding thru psychological contract has cracked at many places. And lives are falling apart. Who worries…. Do people matter?
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”