Skill Development Guides Settlement at Bosch

Skill Development Guides Settlement at Bosch

Vivek Patwardhan (VP): Hello, Arvind. I am very interested to learn more about the collective bargaining settlement which is signed between Bosch Chassis Systems India Private Ltd., Chakan Pune and Bosch Chassis Systems Employees Union. Can you tell me what makes this settlement so groundbreaking and futuristic?

Arvind Shrouti (AS): Thank you, Vivek. It is a pleasure to talk to you. The settlement that we have reached is indeed a new milestone for the Bosch Chakan plant and for the industry in India. It is based on a unique vision of skill upgradation, career advancement, transparent performance management, and enhanced employability for our associates/workmen.

VP: Absolutely. Let’s break down the key aspects for better understanding. Firstly, the emphasis on skill enhancement is remarkable. As I know, this collective bargaining settlement is introducing a career path from workmen to Digital Operator Technician to Data Analyst and Data Scientist, aligning with Industry 4.0.

AS: Yes, it’s a notable shift. The Digital Champion Certification Program is a highlight and is a part of the CB settlement, ensuring that all associates undergo comprehensive training in collaboration with esteemed institutions, including implementation of the same on the shop floor with the help of management and various projects.

VP: That sounds very impressive. Can you elaborate on how you have achieved this vision?

AS: Certainly, Vivek. The key points of the settlement are as follows:
Innovative Approach to Skill Upgradation: This settlement is unprecedented in India, emphasizing skill and knowledge upgradation. It encompasses career path planning for associates from Digital Operator Technician to Data Analyst and Data Scientist, ensuring their improved value and future employability. The commitment to Industry 4.0 implementation reflects the plant’s readiness for technological advancements. Transparent Performance Management System.

Digital Champion Certification Program: All associates will undergo the Bosch Digital Champion Certification Program. Training will be conducted in collaboration with well-established institutions and Bosch’s own training center. Various digitalization modules will be covered in areas such as manufacturing, quality logistics, maintenance, FCM, etc. The company is fully committed to covering the entire cost of the training, demonstrating its dedication to investing in employee development.
The envisaged training program is anticipated to significantly enhance competitiveness and sustainability, fostering an investment-friendly atmosphere. The union holds the perspective that cultivating such an environment, conducive to investment, holds greater potential for ensuring job security and employability for associates than relying solely on legal measures.

(Arvind Shrouti, Option Positive)

Efficient Collective Bargaining Process: The bargaining process was meticulously designed, emphasizing “Less Meetings with Significant Output” and hence both the parties arrived at the settlement within 3 meetings. Extensive background work by both parties resulted in an amicable settlement in just three official meetings. The agreement was reached before the expiry date of the previous settlement. No submission of Charter of Demands by either party. This is one of the most important aspects.

Duration of Settlement: The settlement will be effective for 48 months, spanning from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2027.

Wage/CTC Rise: The Fixed Wage/CTC rise is 7% each for the first Two Years and 6% each for last 2 years. In addition to this, an annual rise of 1% against the increase in POT (Plant Operating Time) will be introduced. The POT will be increased from 1245 min to 1275 min. This has been done considering the heavy capital cost and to improve capital efficiency.

Also, in addition to Fixed Wage rise and rise against POT, a variable pay, ranging from 1% to 2%, will be introduced after the initial two years i.e. from 1st Jan 2026. The first two years will focus on training associates/workmen for their roles under Industry 4.0, and hence no linkage with performance. However, after two years, performance-based variable pay is introduced. The said performance management system is fair and transparent and is based on contributive justice.

VP: The efficiency of the bargaining process is noteworthy. With a focus on meaningful outcomes over multiple meetings, you reached a consensus in just three sessions.

AS: Indeed, the streamlined process played a key role. And the fact that we finalized the agreement well before the expiry of the previous one adds to the positive outcome and only in 3 official meetings.

(Bosch Team)

VP: Moving on to the duration of the settlement, it spans 48 months, providing stability from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2027.

AS: The duration is crucial for long-term planning and sets the tone for sustained collaboration. The execution of the settlement is quite challenging and required sufficient time.

VP: That’s a key point. And it’s encouraging to see the focus on well-being and work-life balance in the training phases, ensuring holistic development.

AS: True. The agreement promotes not only individual benefits but also contributes to the collective success and competitiveness and sustainability of the plant in terms of future investment.

VP: What does it mean?

AS: I am of the opinion that permanency is the myth. The future investment and skill up-gradation will give job security in the future. Unions should focus on value than just wage increase. It is important to note that those who lost their job due to closure or otherwise are not getting a job of Rs. 15000/-.
In the future, individuals employed in various roles must engage in an ongoing process of learning and unlearning to stay relevant in the labor market. Essentially, a proactive approach to learning and unlearning is crucial for all employees to thrive in the dynamic landscape of the future labour market.

(Learning: Pic Courtesy Pixabay)

VP: Arvind, as a consultant to the union, how do you see this settlement impacting the associates/workmen?

AS: This settlement marks a significant shift in our approach. By investing in skill development and adapting to digitalization, associates are not just safeguarding their jobs but also positioning themselves for future opportunities in the industry.

VP: How did you manage to get the union and management on board with this vision?

AS: Well, it was not easy, but it was possible because of the constructive and collaborative spirit of both the management and the union. And I strongly believe that if Progressive Management and Progressive Union comes together, they can do magic, and this is a classic case for the same. We had a common goal of ensuring the long-term success of the Bosch Chakan plant and its employees.

We also had mutual respect and trust for each other. We communicated openly and honestly, and we listened to each other’s concerns and expectations. We were able to overcome the traditional adversarial approach to collective bargaining and adopt a more cooperative and progressive one.

VP: That is very commendable. What are the benefits of this settlement for the company, the union, and the associates/workmen?

AS: The benefits are manifold. For the company, this settlement will help to achieve operational excellence, cost competitiveness, customer satisfaction, and market leadership. It will also enable the company to attract and retain the best talent, and to create a culture of learning and innovation.

For the union, this skill development settlement will strengthen their role and credibility as a responsible and forward-looking partner of the management. It will also enhance their bargaining power and influence in the industry and society. For the associates/workmen, this settlement will empower them through training and learning and provide them with a roadmap for success in terms of career growth, performance rewards, and employability security.

Mr. Vinod Venkatesh, as the Plant Head, stands out for his remarkable clarity about the future. In my experience, there are very few Plant Heads who possess such foresight, and Mr. Venkatesh is undoubtedly one of them. His outstanding contributions to the settlement have significantly contributed to its success.

VP: That’s truly remarkable. Arvind, thank you for generously sharing your insights and experiences with me. My congratulations to you, the Bosch Management team, and the Bosch union for achieving this significant skill development settlement milestone. Wishing all of you continued success in the future.

PS: Arvind Shrouti expresses gratitude for the exceptional contributions made by Mr.
Chintawar (MD), Mr. Vinod Venkatesh (Plant Head), Mr. Udaysing Kharat (HR Head),
and Mr. Ravalnath Patil (HR Manager). A special acknowledgment goes to the entire
union whose collective efforts played a crucial role in making this achievement possible.

Feature Pic Courtesy Duy Pham on Unsplash