Alternative Perspectives on Industrial Relations Seminar at Welingkar Inst

It all started with a chat with Prof Vijayan who is a good friend. We were at SHRM’s Annual Conference when we got in a very interesting conversation.

Prof Vijayan invites me every year to address his senior students. I mentioned to him that we must do something different for them each year; our addressing them on HR issues was [hopefully] holding their interest, but it was not creating excitement for me. So the conversation veered on what can be done which is ‘different’ and ‘interesting.’
In the enthusiasm that the conversation generated, I assured him that I will hold a very unique one-day program for them. That was typical of me, putting cart before the horse, I had no idea of what kind of program I could organise.
But as the day, originally fixed in January, approached I knew that the program had to be about presenting ‘alternative perspectives.’ So we did it. And I felt satisfied with the outcome, though admittedly the final arbiters are the Welingkar HR students.
Pics show audience

Dilip Pawar of Bajaj Auto spoke first. He talked about the strike, their famous demand for shares of Bajaj Auto, subsequent settlement, and their changing stance. Bajaj Auto employees union [Vishwa Kalyan Kamgar Sanghatana] has taken very mature stance in Industrial Relations. They have created a vision for themselves, contributed substantially to empowerment of women, launched a housing project and to top it all, this union has declared a policy of Industrial Relations!

Pradeep Thakare spoke next and explained the struggle of Bosch union. They have devised a very innovative scheme and he explained it. He also spoke about their contribution to productivity.

Pic shows Pradeep Thakare of Bosch 
Ajit Parab and Pravin Malkar explained the story of GSK’s Thane plant closure. Although they have won substantial compensation for their employees, the scars remain. Contract labour became jobless, and employees largely about 40 yrs of age are finding it difficult to go thru the stress of career change. Their family responsibilities are not yet over, and they are acutely aware that the compensation is not the real alternative.
Pic shows Ajit Parab of GSK Employees Union addressing seminar 

Ms Anjali Bedekar who joined SBI union and was the first woman President of that union, spoke on ‘Gender and Trade Unions.’ Some deep insights in this never earlier heard subject. We have heard about Gender and Corporate ladder but not in the trade union context.
Pic shows Ms Anjali Bedekar speaking on ‘Gender and Trade Unions’

Tushar Shirwalkar and Sunil Gupta presented the Balmer Lawrie – van Leer story of transformation of Industrial Relations. More about it soon.
Pic shows Tushar Shirwalkar of BLVL speaking. His colleague Sunil Gupta is seen in the background

Arvind Shrouti presented his perspectives on Industrial Relations in his unique way and his speech was straight from heart. It was as always well received, the audience seemed to enjoy every moment.
Arvind Shrouti of Option Positive addressing the seminar 

I summed up the deliberations and facilitated discussion between students and speakers. And Prof Vijayan closed the seminar with his observations.

Alternative perspectives lead to transformational learning. And when you have a very receptive audience like Welingkar Institute students whose questions require deep diving for the speakers it becomes a very learning moment for all.
Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”