Why Is It Happening To HR Professionals ? - CiteHR
Psdhingra
Legal Analyst, Hrm
Tsivasankaran
Consultant
+2 Others

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Dear All, & Seniors,

Why is it happening to HR Professionals?

Why we don't have strong HR body in Govt department or other that should take strong actions like these cases?

Please put your suggestions how we can tackle this type of situations!

And hope this will not effect our young HR professionals / colleagues.

Violence has implications beyond one company, region: Maruti

Maruti Suzuki attributed Wednesday’s violence at its Manesar plant to an orchestrated act of mob and said such acts of violence have implications beyond one company or region.

“They are negative trigger for existing companies and regions across the country as also for prospective investors and job seekers,” the company said in a statement, a day after a senior HR official was killed and about 100 others were injured in factory violence.

Maruti Suzuki, which witnessed strikes on three occasions last year, has already announced plans to set up a new plant in Gujarat at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore, a move which was interpreted as coming against the backdrop of violence in the region.

Maruti Suzuki said both its plants in Manesar campus were closed on Thursday and it would shortly announce its decision on the next steps with regard to resuming operations in these facilities.

Referring to the problem in the unit, it said by any account it was not an industrial relations problem over wages or working conditions.

“Rather, it is an orchestrated act of mob violence at a time when operations had been normal over the past many months,” the statement said.

On unrest

The company said violence at the plant broke out on Wednesday while negotiations were on between the management and the union for reinstatement of a worker who was “suspended for beating up a supervisor.”

“The first act of the mob was to forcibly shut the main gate and prevent managers from leaving the premises after working hours,” the statement said.

The mob targeted supervisors, managers and executives in different parts of the factory. They also ransacked offices, broke glass panes and wantonly damaged property.

Finally they set offices on fire, it added.

Death, injury and losses

The company said it would give medical attention the injured while extending whatever support possible to their families.

Regretting the loss of life of Awanish Kumar Dev, General Manager HR, the company described him as an outstanding professional and a team member, compassionate, soft—spoken and deeply—committed to cordial industrial relations.

“We are disturbed by the mob violence and arson at our Manesar plant on Wednesday evening. Several executives, managers and supervisors were brutally attacked and injured and nearly 100 of them had to be hospitalised,” Maruti said.

The company said it was still assessing the total damage to property and facilities. “What is clear is that the office facilities have been burnt beyond repair, as have the main gate, security office and the fire safety section,” it said.

The top management team visited injured colleagues in hospitals in Gurgaon. “Their experience was shocking. A few of the colleagues remained serious while for others recovering from injuries it would take a while to come out of the trauma,” the statement added.

Two Japanese nationals were also injured, one of whom was plant manager in Manesar.

Workers’ Union reacts

None of the leaders of Maruti Suzuki Workers’ Union (MSWU) could be directly contacted for their reaction.

The union, however, refuted the company’s allegations and said instead of taking action against the supervisor who was involved in a scuffle with a shop floor worker “the management immediately suspended the worker concerned without any investigation.”

“When the workers along with union representatives went to meet HR to demand against the supervisor and revoke the unjust suspension of the worker, the HR officials flatly refused to hear our arguments, and it was in no mood to resolve the issue amicably,” MSWU president Ram Meher said in a statement.

He alleged that when negotiations were going on with the leaders of the union inside the office, “the management called in entry of hundreds of bouncers on its payroll to attack the workers.”

“This is completely an illegal vindictive action in the spirit of conspiracy to corner us into submission even as our demand and methods are legitimate,” Mr. Meher said.

He said workers were attacked with sharp weapons and arms by the bouncers, who were joined by “some of the managerial staff and police later” and “beat up a number of workers who have had to be hospitalised with serious injuries.”

The bouncers, who are anti-social elements on hire, also destroyed company property and set fire to a portion of the factory, Mr. Meher added.

Stressing that the union had workers and company’s welfare in mind, he said it was keen on dialogue with the company management and Haryana government to “amicably resolve the matter and restore industrial peace in the factory”.
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It does not happen only to HR Professionals I have come across with incidents of brutal murders of Accounts Managers, Production Managers, HR Managers and some General Managers as well. Of course the number of instances in respect of HR Managers are more. In the last four decades of my career, I remeber instances of atleast 10 incidents where HR Managers have beem killed.

When emotions are very high, anything can happen and we need to take all precautions. I personally have been threatened a few times and was very close to being beaten. But fortunately, everytime, only the workers came to my rescue making it very clear to the mob that we as HR Professionals generally carry out decisions taken by the Top Management. Evry one in the organisation is responsible for peace and a shrewd HR Managers keeps his eyes and ears open.

1. Have your own source of information

2. At times of crisis ensure that you take more precautions than required. Stay in Hotels, send your family out Ensure that your children do not go alone in streets. If need be send them out of station

3. Go in different cars everyday and noone can identify your car

4. Be polkite and empathise with workmen to ensure that they dont consider you as their enemy

5. Have some sharp tool/knife hidden in your pocket always to safeguard yourself

I have mentioned a few precautions but you can plan for yourself. But do not hesitate to take precautions even if ithey look little too much. For example, staying in different hotels may sound expensive and little too much, but I have followed this in two different occasions. Purpose is that you are not seen very often by them to get angry Same way different vehicles do help and dont ever drive alone and do not go for morning walks

In this case, it is sad to note that the HR Manager was beaten brutally indicating the workmen's anger against him or against the Management.

Many will respond, write and shout in the next one month, There will be articles and HR forums will raise this subject in many forums for some more time. Then we all will forget and start talking about this when such an incident happens next. Three years back one HR Vice President was brutally murdered in Coimbatore and do any of us know status of the case now? We forget. Last year there was another murder in Tamilnadu and noone talks about it now.

Why can't HR forums follow up these cases? Before we talk about this case of Maruthi, can we list all such cases in the last five years and make some MP raise this question of status of these cases?

Points I am trying to communicate here are as follows

1. Let us take precautions even if they sound rediculous

2. Let HR Professional communicate that they are not the only perople responsible for everything happening around

3. Let HR Forus take stock of the old cases and follow up these cases with Govts to drive a message that such cases will not be forgooten and Mangements will be allowed to take such workers back.

My heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and pray for his soul to rest in peace

T Sivasankaran
I don't know what was the exact cause of such incident at Maruti. But, my belief is, "attitudes matter much" in maintaining harmonious employer-employee relations. Egoism, insenible and unwarranted harsh behaviour towards workers, non-recognition of and non-providing of affordable solutions to employee problems, and unnecessary wielding of authority are the root causes of all such problems, which sometimes take ugly turn, like the latest incidence at Maruti.

In fact, HR and Finance people have the need of time to time review of their attitudes. My experience of last more than 49 years says that most of the employee related problems take birth from the desks of the HR people. So, HR people necessarily have to act as a novel and common mediators between the management and the workers, while finance people have to keep balance in both the investor/management and employee perspectives. They need to be very practical in keeping balance between the management and employee relations. They must not forget that they only know the law, rules, regulations and procedures, while their workers are laymen and need appropriate mentoring and guidance how to do and what and why to do on their part. They need to become their true guides and mentors so that while the workers get satisfied and on the other hand the interests of the organisation is also not harmed.

Production Managers, somtimes have to respond to the irrational targets fixed for them on account of which they often yield pressure on workers.

So, all these professionals should not act blindly as a tool in the hands of the top management, as sometimes top management does not see the what exploure is in the making at the bottom and try to act only in one direction, "top to bottom" unless they are made aware of the ground reality by the middle managers.

So, being important part of the management, as the eyes and ears of the management as a whole, all such functionaries should make the rest of the parts of management aware of the ground reality and find out ways and means to arrive at some moderately acceptable formula of harmonious operations of the organisation.

If you do this, you need not take any precautions for yourself, the workers, themselves, would take precautions that you should not feel disturbed even to a slight extent on account of their activity. I cannot forget one instance of an organisation when the union fellows started going to the chamber of each of the top and middle ranking executives, ipening their doors, shouting the Murdabad and other bad slogans against each executive. But, when some of the union people, who did not know my background, started opening of the door of my chamber to shout slogan against me in the presence of the participants of a meeting there, the other fellows, immediately cautioned them not to speak a single word by saying " he is our own man, leave the door and get away." BUT, what I suggested them, "call my name, I myself would say murdabad," made them laugh only and leave the place.

So, although you are the man of the management, but they would consider you as their own man and family member.
Dear Contributor

Thanks for updates. Violence does not happen in MNC abut also in small and medium scale companies where some times HR department do not exist. During violence all the time HR department is targeted by the union as well as management. The union all the time thinks that HR is responsible for disturbed industrial relations, failure of negotiation, dismissal of workman, non implementation of welfare schemes etc. Many time HR professional act with over confidence to bring the situation under control without following due process of law. HR professionals in some circumstances do not involve government machinery into company labour problem which leads to violence and assaults & murders. This does not happen only in the state of UP or Tamilnadu but also in other states like Maharashtra, MP Karnataka etc

During 1980's one of General Manager of one of the Luggage manufacturing company was brutally murdered in his cabin during working hrs. The workers were booked and trial was conducted. But the session court convicted them with minor punishment where as the dismissal of the workmen was upheld by High Court. Where is justice to Managerial staff ? The law also do not protect HR Professionals. Management also do not care for them. The body like NIPM do not support in such cases.

Let the HR professional come on common platform to discuss this serious issue. I appreciate the contributor for their initiative.

Avinash Kanoray
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