Industrial relations practices of AIOE award-winning enterprises
To promote effective industrial relations practices within enterprises in India, the All India Organisation of Employers (AIOE), which was born in 1932 and is an allied body of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Delhi confers National Award for Outstanding Industrial Relations (IR) Practices in enterprises every year from 1982.
AIOE invites applications from enterprises operating in any sector in India in a specified format. The enterprises have to initially compete regionally and then nationally. The regionally selected enterprises qualify to compete for the national award. This year both the regional as well as the national competition was undertaken online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the 2018-19 Award, there were eleven enterprises (i.e. Bayer Vapi, E.I.D. Parry
(India), GAIL (India), Hindalco Industries, Renukoot, Hyundai Motor India, ITC - Paper Boards and Speciality Papers Division – Unit Bhadrachalam, Lucas TVS, NLC India, Piramal Glass, Tata Steel and Titan Company – Watch Division) that qualified for the final round to compete for the National Industrial Relations Award. Enterprises had submitted their write-ups in a specified format, and teams which in some cases also included trade union office bearers made online presentations on September 12, 2020 to the three-member jury. All the eleven enterprises have developed effective industrial relations practices about, which they elaborated in their writeup as well as in the presentations where the jury members sought clarifications.
The award-winning enterprises in order of ranking chosen by the jury members, were based on the situation through which the enterprises went through, their writeup and the presentation on September 12, 2020 and the results are given below:
(i) ITC - Paper Boards and Speciality Papers Division – Unit Bhadrachalam, Winner
(ii) NLC India, First Runner-up
(iii) Lucas TVS, Second Runner-up
Each of the three enterprises operates in different sectors (i.e. paper, mining plus power generation and automotive component) of the Indian economy. Contract labour is prevalent in all enterprises and the winner enterprise ITC - Paper Boards and Speciality Papers Division – Unit Bhadrachalam, has identified a unique way of absorbing some of the contract labour which is elaborated in the annexure. Each of these three enterprises have ensured that the enterprise produces products / service meeting customer needs involving timely delivery in required quantity, specified quality and at competitive price.
Each of the three enterprises has ensured that the operations are viable and generates a reasonable cash surplus, to meet each of the stake holders’ expectation including those of the workers and the contract labour. Each of these three enterprises had their trials and tribulations in industrial relations, two of them in a multi union situation and one in a single union situation. All three have a healthy industrial relations climate for the last five years ensuring uninterrupted operations.
In each of the three enterprises, there is a lot of emphasis on communication with the employee through various activities, so as to build an effective relationship for meeting the aspirations of the employees, at the same time ensuring success and growth of the enterprise. Also, each of the three enterprises have kept the employees well informed about business realities such as business plan, quality, delivery, safety, unit – productivity and actions to be taken to improve performance, and in certain cases market visits by employees and their interaction with customers etc. Employees receiving such information, facilitates them in perceiving that they are given due importance and considered an integral part of the enterprise.
Each of the three enterprises has its own history on the industrial relations front that was prevalent in the past and the steps the management has taken to improve it for the future. The strategy for improving industrial relations climate by each of the three enterprises is specific to the environment in which it operates. The Industrial Relations strategy in each enterprise that is effective is dependent on the approaches of the management, trade unions, the workers and the contract workers of those enterprises which can be read in the attached annexure. The practices of the three award winning enterprises listed in the attached annexure can be useful for personnel of other enterprises to study, evaluate and adapt, for improving Industrial Relations in their enterprises.
ITC Limited – Paper Boards and Speciality Papers Division – Unit Bhadrachalam, is India’s largest, technologically advanced and most eco friendly paper division. The unit located at Bhadrachalam, is in the Indian state of Telangana. The plant is India’s largest integrated paper and paperboard manufacturing unit. Currently the unit produces high – end virgin and recycled boards for packaging and graphic applications, and fine printing papers.
The unit in Bhadrachalam has 19 registered unions (14 unions of enterprise workers and 5 unions of contract workers). These 19 registered unions are affiliated to different National and State level unions. The recognised union is elected through a secret ballot, where majority union is given the recognition for collective bargaining. The current recognised union is ITC Bhadrachalam Paperboards Employee Union which is an amalgamation of 6 unions i.e. Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Yuvajana Shramika Rythu (YSR) and Independent. The trade unions are being managed by in-house leadership. The plant has 1,437 unionised employees (1323 employees & 114 are Badlis) plus 3,200 contract labour (i.e. employees of service providers).
NLC India Limited, First Runner-up
NLC India (NLCIL), a “Navratna” Government of India Enterprise, with a present annual turnover of Rs 71. 46 billion with profit before tax of Rs 25.29 billion for 2018-19. NLCL is under the administrative control of Ministry of Coal and has a chequered history since its inception in 1956. NLCIL has three opencast lignite mines of total capacity of 28.5 million tonne per year in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu and one open cast lignite mine of capacity 2.1 million tonne per annum at Barsingsar, Rajasthan. It has six pithead thermal power stations with aggregate capacity of 4640 MW.
Lucas TVS Limited, Second Runner-up
Lucas TVS Ltd was established in 1962 as a Joint Venture between Lucas Plc. UK and TVS Group, India. In the year 2001 Lucas TVS Ltd became a wholly owned company of TVS Group, as Lucas the parent company ceased to exist worldwide. Lucas TVS develops and integrates their products in the vehicles and equipment, from the design stage onwards and carries out application engineering, development, manufacturing and service. The company developed innovative products, manufacturing systems and processes, which had brought growth in business and this helped Lucas TVS being one of the few companies in the World to be awarded the Deming Application Prize and the Deming Grand Prize, by Union of Japanese Scientists & Engineers and setting benchmarks in the industry. The company is currently supplying to over 90% of automotive manufacturers in India and also exporting to North America and Europe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Rajen Mehrotra is Past President of Industrial Relations Institute of India (IRII), Former Senior Employers’ Specialist for South Asian Region with Internation.al Labour Organization (ILO) and Former Corporate Head of HR with ACC and Former Corporate Head of Manufacturing and HR with Novartis India Ltd. EMail: email@example.com.
Published in October 2020 issue of Current Labour Reports.